Thursday, May 27, 2010
THEFT AT THE THEATER
In this stale economy it is difficult to find businesses blatantly ripping off their customers. Look no further than the film industry and its recent hike in movie ticket prices... again. The theaters owned by the Regal Entertainment Group, AMC, and Cinemark Holdings all increased their ticket prices starting May 26th. The price increase is varied depending on the market.
Media analyst Richard Greenfield surveyed ten film-going markets and reports that 3D showing prices are up 8%, while 3D IMAX are up 10%. Good news for 2D showings, those ticket prices are only up 4%. Unfortunately text doesn't relay tone, because I doused that last sentence with sarcasm. Even a 4% increase is ridiculous to the already $10 non-matinee showtime prices in the Twin Cities.
The local AMC in Roseville has already reflected these price increases. A showing of Shrek 3D on their IMAX screen is now $14 for a non-matinee showing. Don't even think about purchasing the tickets online because of the addition of the internet service charge.
While I am on the subject, what is the deal with the internet fee anyway? If someone out there knows, I'd like to be informed. You would think buying a ticket at the theater would require the extra fee. They have to pay an employee to give out the ticket while also paying for the paper and ink to print it. When purchasing online, that whole process is cut out, yet I am charged more?
I digress. Despite these significant price increases, none of these theater owners have made an official announcement regarding the price increase. The Wall Street Journal has collected the above ticket price information through online movie ticket sites like Fandango. You would think the theater owners would do us the service of at least telling us they are screwing us. The shock when reading the ticket price at the theater or hearing it from the teller is just as painful.
For all the concern the movie studios have with piracy, I don't think the best resolve comes from hiking up movie ticket prices past the already astronomical rates. This causes less people the desire to go to the theater. Skeptical movie goers will not check out marginal flicks at the theater, and people who enjoyed one viewing may not return for another.
I already know so many people who do not enjoy the theater experience because of the drastic increase in poor theater etiquette. People talking loudly and doing so the entire time, texting or answering cell phones; are these distractions worth the ridiculous price of admission? Most would answer no. Now with high quality home entertainment coupled with the addition of the crippling admission prices, the ball is in the consumers court. How will they react to this most recent price hike?
A showing of Shrek 3D in New York, not the Twin Cities, is $20. This forces a small family of four to shell out $80 bucks just to gain admittance Throw in the ridiculous concession prices if treats are desired during the showing, the bill is around $100. You could bring a family of four to Target Field and watch a Twins game for that price. Since when has our society's cheap form of entertainment become so overpriced and expensive? The process of presenting movies has not changed drastically, yet studios are charging us like this is a brand new medium.
I have been annoyed with movie ticket prices for years now. Now with 3D blowing us all away (sarcasm), it is continuing to get worse. It comes to a point where even I as a huge movie fan am fed up with the greed in the movie industry. Does anyone else side with my grievances?