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Average Ticket Price Up Just 2 Cents in First Quarter of 2013

Stateside box office, attendance down 11% so far this year

Moviegoers paid roughly the same to go to the movies as they did a year ago with the average ticket price in the first quarter up just two cents from the same time last year to $7.94 per ticket.

In 2012, the average cost of ducats settled at $7.96, up from $7.93 in 2011, according to the National Assn. of Theater Owners.

Box office so far this year is down approximately 11%, a slight improvement from a couple of weeks ago, when the first quarter ended with a 12% year-over-year deficit. Attendance is down comparably from 2012.

Bizzers attribute the downturn to a lack of product diversity in the first quarter, with too many R-rated films and not enough family fare.

Still, Universal’s R-rated “Identity Thief” is this year’s most surprising top grosser, with $132 million domestically. Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” is the highest-grossing pic so far, at $224 million, followed by Fox-DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods,” with nearly $155 million.

The industry is looking to the summer to help turn the B.O. tide, with plenty of sure-fire bets like “Iron Man 3,” “Man of Steel” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.” However, there are also lots of big-budget risks, including “Pacific Rim,” “World War Z” and “The Lone Ranger.”

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