Thursday, January 3, 2008

Soaring Ticket Prices Pushing Out Classics From Top 100

Movie ticket prices have made a significant jump in the last few years. Here is an encapsulation of’s chart of average movie ticket prices (with ticket stubs showing the "high end" of their eras):

1910 $.07
1924 $.25
1934 $.23
1944 $.32

1954 $.45
1964 $.94
1967 $1.20
1977 $2.23

1987 $3.91
1997 $4.59
2007 $6.82

The change from 1954 to ‘64 is probably attributable to television set usage; 1977 to '87, the proliferation of VHS; and now, the difference between 1997 and 2007 due to the advent of the “home theater," DVD accessibility through Netflix, plus the competitive DVD market making movies cheaper than ever to own (comparable to seeing a movie once or twice theatrically).

In Los Angeles, I can tell you (despite the above chart) movie ticket prices have doubled in the last decade, with most movie tickets I buy running $10 or more (that's my $14 ticket stub to 3:10 TO YUMA)— you have to really search to find anything cheaper outside of matinees.

In the last few years, there is a trend in the number of older movies that have been ousted from the TOP 100 DOMESTIC MOVIES GROSSES as a result of the rapidly increasing ticket prices— not simply as a result of inflation. Before long there will just be movies from the last decade in the “unadjusted for inflation” list. Among the contributing factors is what seems to be the end of the theatrical re-release. Although there are still re-releases (such as NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and POLAR EXPRESS), their appeal is limited, particularly in terms of boosting them back into the TOP 100 after they’ve fallen out. Whereas, say, 1991's re-release of Disney's 101 DALMATIANS (1961) easily returned this film to the Top 100. A scan of the older titles on the list offers few films likely for a major re-release: is anyone going to go to a re-release of JURASSIC PARK, THE LION KING, JAWS, or BATMAN when they've bought the DVD three times already? Maybe the 3-D re-release of the STAR WARS movies could do well, or, say a 25th anniversary of TITANIC down the road.

Here is the current breakdown, year-end 2007:

Number of films in the TOP 100 DOMESTIC MOVIES GROSSES released from 1997-2007: 70.

By decade:
1930s: 2 (GONE WITH THE WIND [at #82], SNOW WHITE [at #94])
1940s: 0
1950s: 0
1960s: 0
1970s: 4 (STAR WARS [#2], JAWS [#39], THE EXORCIST [#56], GREASE [at #90])
1980s: 9 (lowest ranked: INDIANA JONES 3 [#85])
1990s: 23 (lowest ranked: THE FUGITIVE [#97])
2000s: 62 (50 from 2002-07)

Link to list on boxofficemojo.

No comments: