Posted on Saturday, March 14th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
I’ve heard people complain about the increasing cost of movie theater tickets, but it’s really the cost of popcorn that people should be complaining about. Gizmodo has an interesting article about the rising cost of movie theater popcorn over the last 80 years, and how the price increase is extremely disproportionate in comparison to the average cost of a movie theater ticket.
In 1929, a bag of popcorn cost only 5 cents (the equivalent of 62 cents after inflation) and a movie ticket cost 35 cents ($4.32 after inflation). And today, the average cost of a small popcorn is $4.75, and a movie ticket costs $7.20. Of course, modern day movie theaters make most of their money of concession purchases, because Hollywood movie studios take upwards to 70% of the opening weekend box office.
One could argue that the cost of operating and maintaining a movie theater has gone up, with surround sound systems, stadium seating and now digital projection. But others could argue that the addition of revenue from in-theater advertising has made up for those expenses. In theater ads generated $456 million in 2007, an estimated $1 – $2 per moviegoer. Also, digital projection has been proven to increase ticket sales by a rather large percentage, primarily due to 3D films, which also charge a 33% higher admission cost.