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Movie ticket prices drop in third quarter

October 21, 2013|By Richard Verrier
  • A scene from this summer's movie "Despicable Me 2" from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.
A scene from this summer's movie "Despicable Me 2" from… (Universal Pictures / Universal…)

Despite the upswing in ticket sales this summer, average movie ticket prices in the U.S. dropped in the third quarter to $7.84.

That's down from $8.38 in the second quarter and below the average of $8.05 so far this year, according to figures from the National Assn. of Theatre Owners. (Ticket prices, however, were still higher than the third quarter in 2012, when the average price was $7.78).

The trade group's figures are based on a national average and include lower-priced matinee tickets.

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The drop in average ticket prices between the second and third quarter came at a time when demand for movie tickets soared.

Box office revenues in the U.S. and Canada rose to $4.75 billion this summer, up nearly 11% from the same time a year ago. The number of tickets sold, known as admissions, jumped 9% to 585.9 million, the highest level since 2007.

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Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for the theatre owners trade group, attributed the dip in ticket prices to the smaller number of premium-price 3-D movies in the quarter and the crush of family movies such as "Despicable Me 2" and "Monsters University." Parents often take their children to matinee showings of such movies and bypass more expensive 3-D screenings.

"If you have a big family, you make a bargain choice,'' Corcoran said. "It’s all about what movies people are buying and what kind of people are going to see them."

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