Going to the movies was a cheaper proposition as summer came to a close.
From July through September, the average ticket price hit $8.25, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. That represented a 4.4% decline from the previous quarter when ticket prices hit a record high of $8.61. Some of that was attributable to fewer 3D titles. Pictures like “Straight Outta Compton” dominated the box office for weeks, but did not arrive in Imax or 3D, and consequently did not carry surcharges.
That’s not to say that all of the hits arrived sans extra bells and whistles. “Ant-Man” and “Minions” were in 3D and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” did robust business in its Imax runs. There just weren’t 3D hits on the level of the previous quarter’s “Jurassic World” or “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Some high-water marks were achieved, however. The average price was a new record for the third quarter, the exhibition industry group said. It eclipsed the previous benchmark set in 2014 by 2.1%.
The fact that the association arrives at its numbers by pulling from markets across the country can lead to some head-scratching in areas like New York City or Los Angeles, where prices routinely pass $10.
Through the first three quarters, the average cost of going to the movies stands at $8.34. The rise in cost is not dissuading people from hitting up the multiplexes. Analysts expect that this year could be the first time that the domestic box office passes the $11 billion and receipts are currently up 1.5% over 2013 when ticket sales established a record.