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by Paula Bernstein
March 26, 2014 3:55 PM
1 Comment
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Movie Theaters Might Cut Prices One Day A Week To Lure Movie Fans Back to Theaters

The numbers are in and they're not encouraging. A report yesterday from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) found that domestic movie box office sales rose to $10.9 billion last year -- at first glance, that's good news, right? But not exactly. While ticket sales rose from $10.8 billion the previous year, the increase was due to higher ticket prices rather than more ticket sales.

Ticket sales dropped 1.5% last year to 1.34 billion -- down from 1.36 billion in 2012. At the same time, the average ticket price jumped to $8.13 last year -- up from $7.96 in 2012, according to the MPAA.

Obviously, there are a variety of factors contributing to the decline in movie ticket sales -- VOD and streaming options make it easier for folks to stay home and watch movies, there is more competition from quality TV and younger audiences are consuming content on their mobile devices.

The price of tickets probably factors in to the equation - and now the country's movie theaters are thinking that a discount ticket price at least one weekday could attract more moviegoers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"There is a portion of the populace who can't afford to go to the cinema on Friday night," said John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, speaking at CinemaCon, the annual convention for exhibitors and studios, along with Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA.

Exhibitors in Canada and some Latin American countries already have similar programs. "They have a discounted Tuesday in Canada that works extremely well, so we're looking at testing that model also in the U.S.," said Fithian.

Of course, all theaters would have to participate in such a program, as Fithian explained in his presentation at CinemaCon. The theater owners association could start such a program in one state as early as this year.

1 Comment

  • vin | March 26, 2014 4:19 PMReply

    I would agree that ticket prices are a major factor in declining theater attendance. Additionally, theaters could take a look at their absurdly priced concessions, and the lack of remotely healthy varieties of concessions for sale.

    The fact that theaters are often dirty, and many don't seem willing to enforce restrictions on cell phone use in the movie is another major culprit.

    But, man - notice how content is never addressed? It may not be the major factor, but surely it is partially to blame. Studios are increasingly making content that primarily appeals to teenage boys. Is it any wonder that many segments of the audience are feeling alienated, and prefer to watch films elsewhere? Is it any wonder that theaters are full of texting teens? It would be nice for exhibitors to also demand reform in the content studios are producing.