Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present one of the most stupendous achievements in cinematic history. For the first time ever, a standard movie ticket will be sold for $20. The Wall Street Journal reports that several AMC theaters in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood will charge the incredible price for a ticket to Shrek Forever After, the fourth Shrek installment from DreamWorks Animation, in IMAX 3D. Although the pricing seems extreme, it’s actually a fairly slight bump: theater operators already increased their prices in late March, some by as much as 26%, and several of the theaters now charging $20 for Shrek Forever After in IMAX 3D had already charged $19.50 for the same experience when How to Train Your Dragon was released earlier this year.
The obvious question at hand here is, “Will consumers pay twenty dollars for a ticket to the movies?” Although box office grosses are up this year thanks to the premium we’ve been willing to shell for 3D movies, overall attendance is down. With the proliferation of home entertainment systems and the depressed, but still substantial video game market sucking up people’s presumably limited capacity for entertainment, consumers’ penchant for the movies may not make it past the big 2-0.
Media analysts seem to disagree as to how the market will respond to the price hike. Richard Greenfield, a media analyst for BTIG LLC, wrote in a recent blog post that he was worried that “pricing is simply moving up too quickly.” But, a JP Morgan analyst felt that the market would be able to absorb the significantly larger price increase that took place in late March.
Not being a huge fan of 3D films, I’m not overly concerned about the prices they’re supporting, but will theater owners use the price hike in 3D movies to justify an increase in the cost of regular screenings? Because if gotta drop twenty for t Scorsese flick, (oops, wait).