by David Lieberman
Consumers dug deeper into their pockets to pay for movie tickets in Q3 — averaging $8.25, up 2.1% vs the same period in 2014, according to data out today from the National Association of Theatre Owners. That makes this the third consecutive quarter with price increases, for a year-to-date average of $8.34.
But the increase in the three months ending in September was comparatively modest: Outlays are rising generally to account for price hikes, as well as growing interest in premium priced venues with plush seating, 3D, and large screens. The NATO figure divides attendance by box office revenues which, at about $2.6 billion, were up 5.8%.
The increase in ticket outlays was lower because theaters had fewer 3D and Imax hits than they did last year. This summer three of the top 10 films — Ant-Man, Jurassic World, and Terminator:Genisys — were out in 3D and Imax versions, and one, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, was in 3D.
By contrast, last year four of the top 10 were in 3D and Imax — Guardians Of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, and Herclules — and The Maze Runner was in 3D.
Remember that the NATO figure represents the average outlay for all theaters and times, not just the prices for blockbusters at big-city venues on weekend nights.
The $8.25 average outlay is 5.2% higher than 2013, and 7.0% higher than 2010.