Movie Theatre Tickets aren’t as Expensive as they Seem

Movie prices are not as expensive as you think

According to a new report out today from accounting firm Pricewaterhousecoopers, 53% of consumers admit to avoiding the movies at least once during 2014 due to high ticket prices. Total box office receipts in 2014 were down 5% from 2013. The average ticket price was down, as well – from $8.24 to $8.12.

Even though the report cites high prices, I believe that the reason for declining ticket sales is a lack of value being presented to potential moviegoers. Hence, the second most cited reason – “Movie genre/themes/titles not as interesting to me”. Any time a product is not worth the price, most consumers will communicate this as the price is too high instead of saying that product is not worth the price.

Also, when looking at historical movie ticket price data, ticket prices haven’t increased significantly after adjusting for inflation. The highest average ticket price since 1980 was $8.54 in 2010, but to find the second highest average ticket price you have to go all the way back to 1988. The average ticket price for that year was $8.20 (in 2014 dollars). The interactive chart below, shows the average movie ticket price for each year since 1980 along with the average movie budget for the same years. Both metrics show a steady trend upwards, but nothing dramatic.

Another item of interest is the average movie budget for 1997 was a whopping $61,145,370, which is nearly 65% more than 2014.

Data source: Box Office Mojo
My excel data file.

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