Average movie ticket prices were slightly down during the third quarter to $8.93 — 2 cents below their all-time high during the second quarter — according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.
Wednesday’s release by NATO, the lobbying arm for the exhibition industry, underlines how expensive it’s become to go to the movies. The figure is 3% more than the 2016 national average of $8.65 and almost a 5% increase from $8.51 in Q3 2016.
The price of tickets in the first quarter of 2017 also set a record with an average of $8.84. The rising prices are due to the increased number of films shown in 3D, Imax, and other premium formats — which come with higher costs.
Top films during the third quarter were Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” New Line’s horror blockbuster “It,” and Warner Bros.’ World War II drama “Dunkirk.” “It,” which was released on Sept. 8, grossed record earnings for the month and helped the industry recover from the worst August in more than a decade.
NATO said eight of the top 15 third-quarter grossers and 10 0f the top 20 grossers were rated R.
Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” was the top movie released in August with a domestic total of $75 million. Sony’s “The Dark Tower” was a major disappointment with $50 million in total North American grosses.
Year-to-date business trails 2017 by 4.8% with $8.5 billion as of Oct. 16, according to comScore. The industry is hoping for a jolt with the Nov. 3 opening of Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” followed by “Justice League” on Nov. 17, and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Dec. 15.