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Movie ticket prices down 1.5%

Third quarter numbers dip to $7.94 from $8.06

Domestic average ticket prices in the third quarter clocked in at $7.94 per ticket, down roughly 1.5% from last quarter’s all-time high of $8.06.

The National Assn. of Theater Owners, which began tracking quarterly ticket prices in 2001, recorded 2011 year-to-date average ticket prices at $7.96. That’s just slightly down from the year’s $7.97 average ticket price at the end the first six months.

Third quarter runs from July 1-Sept. 30.

Adult-skewing films, staples of early fall B.O. (i.e. “The Help,” “Moneyball”), can drive the cost of ducats. But NATO said that a decline in pricey 3D helped offset the usual influx of adult fare. This quarter’s best performer, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” debuted with just 42% of its Stateside opening from 3D.

“I think there’s a bigger effect of fewer 3D blockbusters than what more adult films would have,” said NATO director of media and research Patrick Corcoran.

Year-to-date admissions continue to trail last year by 5%, though summer 2011 admissions were up 1.8% over the same sesh last year.

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