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Movie prices at all time high

At the moment, the average cost of a cinema ticket in the United States is at an all-time high.  On the flipside, however, when this figure is adjusted for inflation, the ticket actually costs less than it did four decades ago when it cost $1.76 on average. The most recent data from the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) has found that the average ticket in the last quarter increased from $7.96 12 months ago to $8.38, and has sparked a debate over whether going to the movies is likely to lose its appeal as an affordable way to spend a night out. 

The surcharge on IMAX and 3D tickets, which tend to add $3 to $5 per ticket, is the main culprit, and also explains why revenues are down just 1% in 2013 despite attendance being down 3%. The second quarter of 2013 added more than $1.3 billion to 3D ticket sales thanks to hit movies such as The Great Gatsby and Iron Man III.  In the same quarter in 2012, 3D ticket sales generated just $745 million, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. “There were more options for moviegoers, which is what we strive for,” says the vice-president of NATO, Patrick Corcoran. 

Going to the movies is still one of the cheapest social options in the United States, Corcoran notes.  Economics professor at DePauw University in Indiana, Gary Lemon, agrees, adding: “Where else can you spend less than $9 for two hours and have a good time?”

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