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Movie Ticket Prices Hit an All-Time High

Movie ticket prices
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This won’t be breaking news to anyone who’s gone to the movies lately but guys, movie tickets are really freakin’ expensive. In fact, the average cost of a single movie ticket in the United States has hit an all-time high.

According to the National Association of Theater Owners, the average cost of a movie ticket rose to $8.38 in 2013 from $7.96 in 2012. (And this is without people scalping their midnight tickets on Craigslist for $100.)

The reason for the increase in ticket prices are the rising surcharges for seeing films in 3D and/or IMAX and the increase of films in that format. (2012 saw 37 3D films in wide release and halfway through 2013, there have already been 21 3D films.) For example, to see ‘Pacific Rim’ in IMAX 3D costs $21.50 at the AMC Lincoln Square in New York City. That’s $86 for a family of four without any concessions added on.

A NATO representative defended the high ticket prices by comparing going to a movie with going to see a baseball game. Movies “still stand out as a less expensive out-of-home experience,” says NATO vice president Patrick Corcoran. Well…not exactly.

A quick look shows that tickets to a New York Yankees game can actually be had for right around the same price, if not cheaper. The August 15 Yankees home game against the Los Angeles Angels still lists available tickets at $7.50, $11 and $16 each. A soda and nachos at Yankee Stadium will cost you a total of $11 ($5 for a soda, $6 for the nachos). A soda and popcorn combo at AMC Theaters will cost you $13.75.

Now, we don’t mean to argue that a baseball game is a better option than a movie (as movie fans, we find nothing quite as enjoyable as a great movie), but to say that the rising costs of a movie ticket are still a “less expensive” alternative? We’re not sure we agree with that.

Sadly, there’s not much we can do about it. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg recently predicted that ticket costs could reach upwards of $150 in the future, where going to a movie is akin to going to a Broadway show. Of course, what we could do, is stop wasting money buying ridiculous 3D tickets. Yes, you’re absolutely going to want to see ‘Pacific Rim‘ or ‘Gravity‘ in 3D or IMAX. But, maaaaybe we don’t waste our money on ‘R.I.P.D.‘ in 3D or ‘The Smurfs 2.’

The studios are delivering more and more 3D content and charging more for it, but we keep going to more and more 3D movies, yet complaining about it. You can vote with your wallet if you don’t like the current trends and the best way to do that is to avoid the surcharges. Go to matinees or discount shows. Otherwise you might have to start saving money now to see ‘Star Wars Episode 7.’

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