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Domestic ticket prices reach all-time high

R-rated comedies, 3D raise average price to $8.06

Average domestic ticket prices hit an all-time high in the second quarter at $8.06, according to the National Assn. of Theater Owners.

First-quarter ducats cost filmgoers an average of $7.86; average for the year’s first six-month period is $7.97.

Thanks to an influx of adult-skewing pics (i.e., “The Hangover Part II,” “Bridesmaids”) and summer 3D tentpoles, the second quarter was up (albeit less than 1%) on the previous record-setter, the fourth-quarter 2010, which had an average ticket price of $8.01.The dip from the fourth quarter to the first was because of several family-oriented pics, with kiddie prices dragging down the average.

This summer saw an all-time high number of R-rated comedies (eight, in total) led by Warner Bros.’ “Hangover II,” which has a domestic gross of $252.6 million, making it the highest-grossing R-rated laffer ever. Universal’s “Bridesmaids,” with a Stateside cume nearing $165.4 million, is the sesh’s biggest success story, having grossed more than six times its $26 million domestic opening.

Other well-performing R-rated comedies have included Sony’s “Bad Teacher,” with $96.7 million, as well as Warner’s “Horrible Bosses,” which is poised to cross the $100 million mark domestically. Sony/Screen Gems’ “Friends With Benefits” opened last weekend to a solid $16.8 million.

And while 3D has struggled to hit similar shares vs. last year, the number of wide 3D releases this summer (at 10) has doubled from the first weekend in May through Sony’s “The Smurfs,” which bowed Friday.

This year’s highest-grossing U.S. release so far, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” with $337.9 million, opened with 60% from 3D.

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