Star Wars The Force Awakens
Courtesy of Disney

Ticket prices soared to record highs as moviegoers flocked to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The average cost of going to the theater set consumers back $8.70 in the fourth quarter of 2015. That’s a 4.8% increase from the year-ago period when tickets cost an average of $8.30. It’s also a new quarterly high, as the previous record holder was the $8.61 moviegoers paid on average during the second quarter of last year.

Ticket prices typically spike during the summer months when blockbuster movies draw crowds to 3D or Imax screenings, premium formats that carry surcharges. But the latest “Star Wars” sequel rivaled any of those popcorn season smashes, becoming the highest-grossing domestic release in history.

Of course, for residents of major cities such as Los Angeles or New York, where the cost of going to a movie is in excess of $10, the average price seems like a steal. There’s a reason they won’t be feeling sticker shock. To get its numbers the National Association of Theatre Owners, an exhibition lobbying firm, averages prices across the country.

The full year cost of going to the movies also climbed 3.18% to record levels, hitting $8.43 per-ticket. Last year the average ticket price was $8.17.

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