If you’ve been to the movies lately, you probably won’t be all that shocked to hear that the average price of a ticket sold during 2015’s Q2 reached a new peak. Data from the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO, not to be confused with the military alliance, of course) shows that the new average has reached $8.61 a ticket, the highest for any quarter to date.
While those in major metropolitan areas may be struggling to remember a time when ticket prices dropped below $10, let alone the $8 region, it’s important to note that NATO looks at sales from across the country and includes showtimes throughout the day (i.e. matinees as well as primetime features).
An increase in the average can mean that ticket prices are generally going up, people are electing to purchase more expensive tickets at high-end theaters, or a combination of both.
Since this time last year, there’s been a 3-4 percent increase in paid ticket prices, which Deadline links to an increase in 3D and IMAX sales. Certain movies tend to draw bigger crowds to such large-screen venues, so it’s probably no coincidence that the spike this past quarter coincides with the colossal success of Jurassic World. All of those box office records, and the movie’s massive domestic release may be leaving their mark.
NATO findings also highlight the fact that the movie-going experience has become a lot more comfortable in recent years. Under increased pressure from more convenient home viewing options, major theater chains have opted for overhauls that have replaced stiff seats without drink holders for softer seats that recline. It’s not the worst trade-off.
Ultimately, what NATO’s findings seem to indicate is that you get what you pay for. If you want to see a the movie everyone’s talking about and you want all of the bells and whistles, you’ll have to expect to shell out more.