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Luxury complexes push ticket prices to record

June 25, 2004|From Reuters

LONDON — The cost of going to the movies hit an all-time high last year as the construction boom in plush multiplex cinemas continued to push up ticket prices, according to a report released this week.

In its ninth annual worldwide survey on movie ticket prices, London-based media research group Screen Digest said average ticket prices rose in 40 of the 45 countries it tracks.

The global average ticket price in 2003 was $5.20, up 4.8% in local currency terms.

At 1,252 yen -- $10.80 in 2003 average currency terms -- Japanese ticket prices were the most expensive. Rounding out the top five were Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

Screen Digest said a major culprit was construction of the state-of-the-art cinema complexes that come equipped with air-conditioning, enhanced sound systems and sometimes shops and arcades under a single roof.

Multiplex ticket prices tend to be higher than those charged at older "art house" cinemas, the researchers noted. For the last 15 years, multiplexes have been a common feature in more established cinema markets such as the United States, Britain and Germany. The construction boom has caught on over the last few years in other parts of Europe, as well as in South America and Asia.

In the United States, the largest moviegoing market, average ticket prices rose for a 10th straight year to $6.04, climbing 45% over the decade, Screen Digest said.

The economics of movie ticket prices is not easy to pinpoint. Screen Digest pointed out that in Germany a variety of factors -- from a poor economy to lackluster box-office business -- forced ticket prices down 2.6% from the previous year.

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