Average U.S. movie ticket prices fell slightly during the third quarter to $8.83 — down a dime from the same quarter a year ago and 55 cents below their all-time high of $9.38 during the second quarter.
The success of family-oriented films such as “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” “Christopher Robin,” “Smallfoot,” and “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” drove the price decline due to the increased numbers of children’s and matinee tickets for family films, NATO spokesman Patrick Corcoran said.
Monday’s release of third-quarter data by the National Association of Theatre Owners, the lobbying arm for the exhibition industry, also reinforced the success of the 2018 box office, which is up 9% over last year to $9.32 billion. Third-quarter admissions spiked 7.4% to 307.4 million and box office increased by 5.9% to $2.71 billion.
The summer box office, which included the hits “Incredibles 2” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” generated a 12.3% hike in admissions to 482.3 million and a 14.5% surge in domestic box office to $4.4 billion.
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The top third-quarter domestic grosser was “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” with $219 million, followed by “Ant-Man and the Wasp” with $216 million, “Crazy Rich Asians” with $165.6 million, “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” with $165.1 million, and “The Meg” with $142 million.
The average ticket price for 2018 so far is $9.14 and the number of admissions is up 6.1% to 1.02 billion. The average ticket price four decades ago in 1978 was $2.34, but NATO noted that the inflation-adjusted figure for that year is $9.45.