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U.K. exhibs keep reeling them in

Will climbing ticket prices ever keep people at home?

Why pay as much as £12.50 ($23) to go to the cinema in London’s West End when you can buy a DVD player for as little as £20 ($37)?

A recent poll of 18 European capitals conducted by Pricerunner.com found British cinemagoers pay top price for the bigscreen experience — even as the price of electronic goods is among the cheapest in Europe.

Despite the comparatively high prices — the cost of seeing a movie in central London is four times the cost as in Vilnius, Lithuania — U.K. cinema admissions have been on the rise for 20 years and bookers are unfazed.

“There is simply no comparison between sitting on your sofa and watching a DVD on a crappy player, and seeing a new release in the company of 2,000 other people in the Odeon Leicester Square,” says Stuart Boreman, director of film buying for northern Europe at exhib UCI.

Ticket prices in London’s West End are the highest in the country, but Boreman says auds get a kick out of “going to one of the historic and luxurious big cinemas in the West End.” In the shires, the cost of admission runs closer to £6 ($11).

On the flip side, couples with dough to burn should head straight to the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, where they can canoodle on a £30 ($55) love seat while seeing the latest fare.

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