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Once again, its going to cost you a little more to hit up the local multiplex.
According to the National Association of Theater Owners, as of the second quarter of this year, the average ticket price in the United States has hit $8.12. This is a new record for a quarter, surpassing the previous which was $8.01 set in the fourth quarter of 2010.
This price was reached by a combination of an increase in fees from the theaters as well as the increase in 3D and IMAX films that charge a premium. The average price did actually decline in 2011 to $7.83, but with the swath of big films in April through June quarter, it was pretty much a certainty to see an uptick.
As one would expect, however, the price varies upon where you are. The average price at the Regal chain – which focuses on large markets – was $9.11 in the quarter, while Carmike – which goes into smaller to mid-size areas – was hovering at $6.91.
This plays into something I have been trying to get across about movies this summer and how we need to judge success on attendance and not gross sales. The Amazing Spider-Man has done $250 million thus far, but is trailing Spider-Man 3 by about $70 million at this point in the run. The average ticket price in 2007, when that film was released, was $6.88. So not only is the gross down, but attendance is way down. Shouldn’t this be communicating some sort of warning sign to the studios that perhaps its time to change things up a bit? Either bring the price of tickets back down, or produce more satisfying fare, but something is definitely not adding up here.