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Will Tickets for Smaller Movies Cost Less at the Box Office?

Will Tickets for Smaller Movies Cost Less at the Box Office?

That’s the question that a New York Times business article, “Changes Ahead for a Theater Near You“, posed today. In the story, AMC Entertainment Peter C. Brown says that variable pricing — meaning bigger movies and weekend shows will cost significantly more than smaller movies and weeknight shows — will happen “within a year.” he said. “There are people looking at it. I’ll leave it at that.”

Many theaters already have some type of variable pricing. In many cities, for instance, big theater chains charge about a $1 less on weeknights. But the story says this doesn’t make much of a difference and more drastic shifts are being examined. And this makes some independent film insiders worried.

“Can you imagine the impact this could have on independent films?” said the worried email in my inbox. “If films with smaller audiences are sold with cut-rate admission prices, this could put an even bigger crunch on [indie] distributors and filmmakers.”

The article recognizes this “slippery slope,” quoting Brown, “when you start to be someone who would be suggesting that, say, ‘King Kong’ is a product that should be priced differently from ‘Memoirs of a Geisha‘ or ‘Capote.’ Because ultimately it is art.”

But, of course, how often is cinema really considered art these days?

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Richard R

Makes sense to me to charge less for ‘smaller’ films. I have problems paying full price on films I know were made for little money, feels like I’m sticker big money in the pocket of the distributors. I love smaller cinemas that charge less and show ‘smaller’ films.
Charge less and more people will go.

Sujewa Ekanayake

Not sure how this will go down in the long run if it is implemented. However, more people may check out an unknown movie if it looks somewhat promising & if it is more affordable, here I am thinking about young & other people w/ out much disposable income.
If a no star indie flick sells regular admission at $5, they may get more people coming to it, and may make more $s in the long run. Certainly something worth trying, on a limited, case by case basis, prior to implementing it across the board.

Low ticket prices could drive attendance up. If a family or group of 5 could go see a new & interesting film for $25 as opposed to $50, I bet they’d do it.

In indie rock the variable pricing has been in play for a long time. Unknown bands play for $3, $5 per person, and when they get more known, the tix pricing goes up – $8, $12, $20, etc. per person.


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