Film fanatics might have reason to rejoice in 2014, as it looks as if there may eventually be a way to pay less for movies that doesn't entail rolling into a theater before 10:30 am. During a speech at CinemaCon this week, John Fithian, the president of the National Association of Theater Owners, announced that the organization will test out this crazy thing called "discounts." Fithian remained tight-lipped about the details, although it seems likely that the lower pricing will be valid on an off-day in which foot traffic is disproportionately low.
The organization wants to discern whether cheaper prices might reverse the alarming decline of movie theater attendance. In 2013, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "Frequent moviegoers between the ages of 25 and 39 decreased from 9.9 million to 8.2 million, and from 5.8 million to 3.2 million among those between the ages of 40 and 49." Attendance from children and people over the age of 50, however, remained high.
Meanwhile, the average national ticket price has gone up by 2% to $8.13. USA Today claims that this is "largely because of the surcharge on 3D and IMAX tickets, which often adds $3 to $5 to a ticket." However, people in urban areas (like us chumps in New York) will pay as much as $15 for a standard ticket. For many, these mounting prices mean that a night at the movies isn't as cheap as it once might have seemed.
The organization's test is admittedly very limited in scope; they will offer the promotion in one state only, and for a short period of time. But despite this small execution, the move is significant. "Theaters have been uniformly steadfast in their stance against ticket discounting ... because studios are promised a hard cut of each ticket," Mashable explains. "Any discount would slice directly into the theaters' take." Thus, discounting initiatives from Groupon and Moviepass have "had only limited success, largely withering in the face of intense exhibitor and studio pressure."
So while many of us will probably miss out on the money-saving benefits of NATO's experiment, its mere existence speaks volumes about what may be on the horizon for the movie-going consumer. Readers, how much are you willing to spend on the movies? Have you cut back on your movie-going at all? Let us know in the comments below!
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