I dunno, considering other forms of entertainment, going to the movies is quite affordable. Consider Plays, broadway shows, sports events, etc. Heck, even going to a local carnival is a lot more expensive than a night (or even a daytime matinee) out. for $20 I can have a few snacks and a drink and watch a 20 (or much more these days) million dollar movie on a giant screen with a great sound system & have an evening out at the movies.
I have theaters in two different towns in my area and a drive-in 2 miles away. One town has prices of $5.50 matinees (up from $5 last year) and $7.75 after 5 pm ($5.50 for kids under 12). The one closest to me has $4.50 matinee prices and $7 evening ticket prices.
That's exactly what they want you to do. You're falling for their spin. They are comparing apples and oranges.
A movie is not a play, a carnival, a sports event, a concert, or anything else. It's a movie. You can see the same exact same movie on a DVD in your Home Theatre and in the case of most people on this forum you probably have a better experience at home watching a DVD (especially in sound quality) than you do at the Theatre.
The other expensive activities you compare a movie to have a big difference. They only way you can generally experience them is to go and pay the money. The same is not true of a movie. Compared to the cost of the DVD going to the movies is most definitely overpriced. Also a play, sporting event, or concerts are usually more enjoyable and memorable to most people (myself included) than a trip to the theatre. I also do not do them at nearly the same frequency either. I've been to see a Broadway style play/musical I think all of 4 times in my life and I'm 24.
Here's a question for you. Would it be ok if the theatres all raised their prices 50% and used the justification that since gasoline prices went up 50% in the past year and people have afforded that, then they can also afford a 50% increase in a ticket price?
Weren't you accusing someone else of comparing apples and oranges?
It boils down to what you think a movie is worth. Me, I find $7 for two hours of generally decent-quality entertainment away from my doorbell and phone a pretty decent price. I've enjoyed $7 movies much more than $50 concerts or $40 basketball games, that's for sure.
Of course, I'm also fairly pro-active in finding ways to spend less - Loews Weekday Escape tickets, membership at a local rep theater, discount tickets at Landmark, and using matinees to my advantage. It's possible, if you enjoy movies enough to put a little effort into it, to make the price of the hobby very reasonable indeed.
I know ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood offers a membership program where you earn points (when you buy a ticket you also get a specific seat, which is nice).
Even though the ticket prices are expensive, its a great place to see movies at, as is the Mann's Chinese Theater a few blocks across.
In Canada (well Calgary at least), the theater chains here used to charge $13 a ticket and then you have cheap Tuesday showings and matinees, but now they axed everything by lowering the movie ticket price to $10 Cdn.
I remember going to The Ritz in downtown Philly and paying considerably more money for a show. But it had some perks, one of which was no one under 18 (regardless of rating) was allowed in after 7:00 or so.
There are operating costs that factor into tickets hikes but most people wouldn't complain if they had something more "tangible" to show for the increase. Instead, they raised prices up to 9.00 bucks a ticket and are still showing car ads.
Thanks for analyzing my reasoning but I am not falling for any spin whatsoever. I think $20 for a nice evening out is a good value and has nothing to do with spin. I am simply comparing an evening out with other entertainment events. Things are expensive. A movie theater is expensive to run. I know because I worked at a theater for a couple of years and the manager was very open about the economics of the theater's operation.
This is something business owners understand and average consumers do not. And last I checked, most theaters offer bargain shows as well. You can probably see a movie on a weekday for under $10 and still get popcorn and a drink.
I second the arclight. Paid $14 for a ticket tonight and guess what -- it was well worth it. Aside from the reserved seat, people who go there actually (believe it or not) WANT to see the movie and not just socialize through the whole thing. No commercials!!!!!!!
I also really like the introduction -- an employee comes down and talks to everyone before the film, giving the trt and other relevant information. Really a great movie-going experience.