How much would you pay to see a movie during its opening weekend?
Although the prices are just a dollar higher than the average movie ticket, many moviegoers and Hollywood movie studios are upset by AMC CEO Adam Arons’ extra charge.
One industry executive told WrapPRO about Aron’s surprise announcement during AMC’s earnings call this week that it was “just confusing and frustrating to me why you would openly boast about bumping up prices for the biggest films. It sounds incredibly greedy.”
The executive continued, “Any consumer that hears or reads that is going to feel that they’re being gouged, and right now with everything getting more expensive with inflation, are headlines about surging pricing what we need right now when so many auditoriums are nearly empty unless it’s an opening weekend for a tentpole?”
An insider said Warners had no idea there would be a difference in ticket prices until Aron publicly announced the change after noticing how Regal and Cinemark had raised prices quietly for the opening week of Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home back in December.
Although there is an understanding that bringing in the surge pricing model from AMC’s overseas locations is important during a time when there is an overwhelming demand for the few blockbusters in the post-COVID world, studios seem to prefer that the price change be done more discreetly.
Studios believe that being completely transparent with the change could be damning to the performance of the film. One distribution executive told WrapPRO, “[W]hen it was done with No Way Home, at least other companies were smart enough not to brag about it in an earnings call.”
Will people pay an extra dollar to go see a major blockbuster on opening weekend? Box office analysts told WrapPRO that tacking on an extra dollar or two for the first screenings of the biggest superhero films could be a new trend where ticket prices could vary more, potentially allowing discount opportunities for moviegoers to expand beyond the usual midweek “bargain days” or matinees to see a movie that has been in theaters for weeks. This could also benefit films aimed at older audiences that have largely struggled since cinemas have reopened.
Reportedly, executives have also considered offering family packs of tickets at a bundle rate that could win over parents who may seem reluctant to take their kids to the theaters due to inflation and pandemic-related financial struggles.
We all want to go back to the cinema, but at what cost? I can appreciate the transparency of AMC’s decision, but there need to be more options for moviegoers who don’t want to or can’t spend up to $19 on a movie ticket.
Let us know what you think about the price changes in the comments!