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Movie Ticket Prices Hit $20 … Without The Popcorn & Soda
The Movie God   |  @   |  

Scrooge McDuck

Remember when it was outrageous to go to a movie theater because a $7-$10 admission ticket paired with an $8 tub of popcorn and a $6 soda for just one person was breaking banks nation wide? You haven’t seen anything yet.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that multiple movie theaters in New York City — where prices have consistently remained highest — is charging a nice round $20 fee to see Shrek Forever After in their 3D IMAX theaters. That’s right — if you plan on taking your family of four out for a night to see the kids’ beloved Shrek, Donkey, Fiona, and Puss in Boots, it will easily run you more than $100 if you add a snack or liquid refreshment.

If this catches on, it could mean that theaters everywhere could be charging as much as it costs us to BUY & OWN the movie on Blu-ray or DVD just to see the flick one time, one sunny afternoon.

Some may be okay with this, but a lot more will not be at all. Movies like Shrek and others will start losing money at the box office because people will not want to pay this much for a one-time show. Again, this is New York City and prices have always been a hell of a lot higher there than they are here in little ol’ New Hampshire, but you can’t help but react to it as a possible sign of the times. For those of you who live in NYC and want to know where to avoid, the theaters involved in this $20 movement include the AMC theater in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood, AMC Loews 34, AMC Loews Lincoln Square, and AMC Empire 42nd Street.

What’s the most interesting thing about this to me? We just found out recently that the FCC had approved the MPAA’s request to allow newly-released films to be offered in people’s homes only a short time after theatrical openings (Read: Brand New Movies Soon To Be Available In Your Home; The Death Of Theaters Imminent? ). The biggest concern in that was the fact that it could very well spell the end for movie theaters as we know them. This is something that I and most others do NOT want, despite how much we would love having the option to order a movie at home if we don’t feel like dealing with crowds and cinema annoyances.

With this news, theaters who take part will now have to take some of the blame in the event of their demise. You can’t complain about people having the option to order a movie at home and then turn around and charge multi-hours worth of someone’s salary to see a 90-minute movie.

On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal had another story running just today reporting that major Hollywood studios were now in talks with cable provider Time Warner Cable to offer movies 30-days after release for $20-$30. If this is the case, it’s just as bad. If the option is to pay $20 to see a movie on a giant IMAX screen the day it comes out or $30 to see it at home 30-days later, people will likely just keep going to theaters.

If the at-home option is going to work while preserving theaters, I believe a 30-day or more period is crucial, but the price has to be a lot more acceptable than that.

The future of movies — in theater prices and the viewing options of the future — is movie forward at rapid, vicious speeds now. These changes and ideas are fittingly coming at us like freakin’ Roland Emmerich movie.

What do you think of all of this? Speak your minds!


  1. It seems to me that theatres and production companies are trying their hardest to push people towards illegally downloaded content.

    I can’t help but draw some parallels between this and the evolution of online music. I think the only way things are going to work is for these companies to follow a similar model. Obviously it can’t be exactly the same, but following the same principles.

    I think a good solution to this particular problem would be, if they are going to charge you $20 to see a movie in the cinema, you should then get a voucher or such that will allow you to download that movie for free, or at least a heavily discounted price.

    Comment by Darryl — May 23, 2010 @ 2:50 am

  2. It’s all about greed – show me the money! But it’s a ‘no win’ scenario for the theaters.

    On one hand you feel sorry for them because the studios will make a buck with or without them. On the other, if they suffer financially, they will have contributed to it by their pricing policies.

    It will be interesting to see who the last man standing is.

    Comment by David Gruttadaurio — May 23, 2010 @ 6:39 am

  3. This is the same garbage that drove me to downloading music.

    I guess I am just grateful my local theaters haven’t come close to breaking $10 for an evening show, and still offer student discounts.

    They also have early weekend and matinee show prices for under $5.

    For if I was going to have to pay $20 every time I went to the movies, I’d download those too.

    Comment by Brian — May 23, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  4. You’d think that if people have more viewing options the logical choice would be to drive down the price, not astronomically increase it.

    For example: i used to go to the movies once or twice a month when that price was around $6-8 a movie. But now going to the movies is officially and “expensive” activity and I go . . . once a year? Once every two years when a movie I really want to see on the big screen comes out? Think how much less money they’re making off me now. If it was $20, I’d never go again, period.

    Comment by Julie — May 24, 2010 @ 12:32 am

  5. Okay to start being paranoid over the prices of movies just because NYC theatres are charging $20 for IMAX 3D is a little crazy. You’re basing your assumptions on prices in one of if not the most expensive city to live in and on the most expensive theatre experience possible. Take it down about 5 notches.

    Comment by D — May 24, 2010 @ 6:59 am

  6. Blockbuster membership (1 unlimited rental per month) & Netflix membership (1 unlimited rental per month + online streaming & streaming HD movies to my HD TV), I’m all set!

    Comment by phil — May 24, 2010 @ 7:12 am

  7. @D
    I live in NY, and typically, Manhattan is about $1-2 higher than the rest of the city. So, if we’re playing $9 in Brooklyn, it’d be $11. Now with 3D and IMAX showings — and mind you, most are NOT the big full IMAX — they are charging $5-$10 more for movies that most people wouldn’t even know the difference between IMAX and standard. For a long time I felt that 3D and/or IMAX was not worth seeing and I always go the he standard version. But anyway, it’s NOT paranoid to think that because NYC has hit $20, that others will increase their prices.

    Comment by Empress Eve — May 24, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  8. FWIW – The Regal Mall of Georgia IMAX hit $17.50 right before Iron Man 2 came out.

    Comment by Jeremy Davis — May 24, 2010 @ 11:07 am

  9. Anymore, I refuse to go to the theatre. Mostly on account of the studios’ and actors’ greed but also because of the price at the box. The removal of student discounts is a terrible blow and some theatres around Boston don’t even have matinee pricing. The service at the theatres to which I’ve in the past two years has been awful.

    Combine that with Hollywood’s inability to put out a movie that I’d pay six dollars to see and that leaves me with here on my laptop. I just want to see something that isn’t a [direct] remake for a change or driven by explosions and gratuitous crap.
    Am I just too picky?

    Comment by nico_forgot — May 24, 2010 @ 11:21 am

  10. If prices go up like that (and they’re not that far from it here already at $12.50 for a regular movie, $15 for IMAX, $15.50 for 3D & $18 for IMAX 3D) I may just divert my movie money for the year towards converting a room in the house into a comfy home movie theatre & just buy the movies on dvd for $10 at WalMart & watch ’em at home w/ friends.

    Comment by Wiredwizard — May 24, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  11. Good. Maybe will people will finally realize that 3D is a fucking waste of time and stop going. MAybe studios will remember that it’s the god damn STORY that people go to see, not 3D crap flying at you and making you sick. That’s just a dream though.

    This all Avatar’s fault.

    Comment by Shawn — May 24, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  12. Its about $9.75 here on Maui and it seems like it’ll jump in price soon. It always happens .. 25 to 50 cents here and there. Plus if you’re gonna wait 30 days after theater release to order it from Time Warner Cable at around $20-$30 .. wait 2 more months and buy the DvD at the same price or cheaper.

    Comment by GiantRobotMunki — May 24, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

  13. @D

    I’m aware that this is really just in major cities like NYC right now, and even specified that I live in a small market where it’s nowhere near that expensive.

    But it’s significant because it could be a sign of things to come.

    As Mr. @Jeremy Davis said, it’s $17.50 in Georgia already, so if you “Take it down about 5 notches,” you may just find yourself taken by surprise.

    Comment by The Movie God — May 25, 2010 @ 4:00 am

  14. Woah…this will cost me one tutoring job!

    I think that maybe if we had internet police that shut down those “watch ’em online” sites, maybe then the ticket prices would be cheaper. It’s about $12 where I live, so a good $20 would leave me with… a 3D flick and a kids meal? :P

    Comment by Karl — July 10, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

  15. See the video “Why Do Movie Tickets Cost So Much?” at or

    Comment by — October 24, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

  16. I may just divert my movie money for the year towards converting a room
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  19. Put forward a home theater. I think this is the enjoyment of.

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