If you thought it was getting more expensive to go the movies, your hunch was right.
The average ticket price at theaters in the U.S. last year rose to an all-time annual high of $7.89, up 5% from $7.50 in 2009, according to the National Assn. of Theatre Owners. In the fourth quarter, the average price was $8.01, up 5% from the year-ago period.
That may seem unusually low to people in L.A., where ticket prices are typically much higher, but the figure represents a national average of theaters in big cities and small towns alike and includes lower-priced matinees and children's prices.
NATO spokesman Patrick Corcoran attributed the increase primarily to the rise in 3-D screenings, which can add $2.50 to $4 to the ticket price. Hollywood is expected to release about 35 3-D films this year, and theater owners are moving rapidly to increase the number of 3-D screens to handle the growth. This week Regal Entertainment, the nation's largest theater operator, announced that it would double its number of RealD 3-D screens.