Movie Pricing

Published by patrick honner on

I wonder if there are any theaters that take movie length into account when pricing admission.  Last night, I saw “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, which came in around 2.5 hours.  Compare that with “Toy Story 3”, which (according to secondary sources) runs approximately 1.6 hours.  Basically,  for every two showings of TGwtDT, a theater could instead put on three showings of TS3.

I’m sure there are demand issues involved here, but simple logic to me suggests that more showings means more people in the seats, which yields more revenue through admissions and concessions (I’m assuming the margninal cost of showing a movie is negligible).  Inversely, a longer movie means fewer viewings and consequently less revenue.

So maybe longer movies should be more expensive?  Or shorter movies should be cheaper?  As an aside, If quality were a determining factor in price, then I paid too much last night.

patrick honner

Math teacher in Brooklyn, New York


Mr Xiao · July 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I am not disagreeing with you, but the extra money you paid helped the theater to survive. Think of it as you helped the economy running.

Sam Kolins · July 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm

You have a point.

I don’t think movie producers create their own prices for movies; they know that no matter what happens, they’ll probably get a fairly large sum of money for it. Somewhere in the high hundred thousands or all the way up to several millions.

Movies still get played through projectors if I’m not mistaken. Which means they’d have some sort of “reel” for it; whether they still use the same old film reels they’ve used for a while now or something more electronic is beyond me. Either way, it’d cost more money to make a long reel regardless of its technological medium, so I suppose it’d make sense to buff up or reduce the price in order to keep profits.

Movie theaters might still slide in a little extra into the cost just to induce a higher profit, mainly through the psychological observation that few people actually care all that much about how long the movie is until they’ve actually bought the tickets for it (there are plenty of exceptions though). This may seem unfair, but I suppose there could be other costs involved as well.

Technology plays a big part in movie casts. IMAX and 3D movies would naturally cost more than standard movies. Not to mention movies were a lot cheaper years ago, when advanced technology for making movies faster, better, and more efficiently weren’t as readily available.

Mr Li · July 7, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I do not believe the Movie Length would affect the Price of the Movie, because the Price of the movie is already set: $6 for adult $4 for children (slightly outdated. However, if the movie have good ratings the most profitable method for the movie theater is to replace the movies with worst ratings with this better movie, assuming it will profit them more than the worst movie.

Also you need to put into consideration how many people wants to watch the movie per day. There is a limited amount of people in a town/city/borough, but there are unlimited days you can keep the movie in play. Therefore, a person can always be able to watch that movie if they simply wait a day if they hear the tickets are out.

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