Urban Cinefile
"Once the films are finished, I never see any of them ever again. I like to see them once - and that's it "  -Bruce Beresford on the set of Paradise Road
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday December 13, 2019 

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With average ticket prices at around $7.30 (a statistic, not a reality for most cinema customers) it has been evident for some time that there are too many movies competing for the movie dollar. Everybody knows it: the studios know it, the distributors know it, the exhibitors know it, the producers know it, the investors know it – and the public knows it. What to do….? We asked our readers what they thought about dropping prices: What do you think - add YOUR COMMENTS. [Write ‘cheaper tix’] in the subject field.]


I heard that same thing years ago, that there was a prices surveillance authority (or whatever it's called) enquiry into cinema ticket prices, and they decided not to do anything because they reckoned no-one really paid the set price, because everyone got some sort of concessional or discount ticket. But at the time, I said, what, everyone but ME!!!???????? After that I joined a private health fund in WA which let you go into a branch and buy tickets from them for various Perth cinemas (major chains and some or most independent cinemas) at a discount price. Also I know unions often offer something like that to their members if you go into their branch office. Then individual chains like palace have their own "movie clubs" you can join and get discounted tickets just with them for a while - in WA at least .

Hoyts had a $6 movie ticket "shop-a-docket" offer, which was great and really, really popular, but I figured too popular, 'coz they stopped doing it... now I am a member of Victorian Writers' Centre which entitles me to discounted tickets at one particular Village and one particular Hoyts (I think…not sure which chains, but it's not across the board, only one of each, so not worth remembering, too complicated)... this is the problem with the whole discounts thing now, it's not across the board so it's too damn complicated to know which membership entitles you to what discount where, and with what conditions/limitations (which make it even more complicated, major logistical operation just to pick a movie and venue and time as if that's not logistical enough, esp. when a few people are involved, and all have different potential discounts...??). The Palace membership is excellent, and makes me and my friends loyal to palace. We go there, because we always know what the deal is, and that it is always the same, no day or time restrictions or anything. We will always see what's on at Palace: $11 or $12 each is too much to pay for a movie; you may as well get a video out between you. Also the prices for the Melbourne film festival are so disappointingly high, or at least they were last year, there were so many films we were dying to go to, but we would have had to have saved up all year to be able to do it, it's just ridiculous - why bother to put all these hot films on together and then basically price out all these potential punters (or is that the idea, they want to keep the plebs out?????) Okay, end of rave - I really hope something gets done.
Frida Lyngstad, Melbourne

Australia has one the highest standards of cinema presentation in the world. Lavish new multiplexes, equipped with comfortable seating, big screens and digital sound are constantly bein built. There is a public perception that cinemas actually keep 100% of the profits from cinema tickets, which is far from the case once filmhire fees have been extracted. A drop in ticket price will make it more difficult for cinemas to sustain and improve the standard of on-screen presentation, which - as so many movie-goers illustrated by their choice of where they saw the new Star Wars film - is one of the most important factors in watching films today. To pay $10-$12 to enjoy a $100 million piece of entertainment is pretty good value. And there are very few cinemas which don't have bargain days and cut-price books of cheap tickets. We've come a long way since the days of shonky, hard seats, dimly-lit screens and barely audible sound systems. Lets keep progressing.

Mick Elliott, Petersham, Sydney

I think a good idea would be to decrease ticket prices once a film has been in cinemas for a while. Say cut $3 off the price after a month in release for example. Obviously the more popular titles would keep their prices high, but perhaps when a film is languishing a price cut could be in order. It may also stop the frenzy that occurs when a blockbuster film is released if people know that by waiting a month or so they could save a few bucks.
Neil Ritchie

I agree [reduce prices]. With adult ticket prices at $12.50 (plus an extra $1 per ticket if you book using "movieline" (I hate this "service" by the way) $13.50!!) at the major cinemas, I am extremely choosy about where my money goes. I probably average one or two films a week but would definitely see more if the price was lower. Riskier films would definitely be more attractive if they were priced more reasonably. Other forms of entertainment have a range of price structure so why not films? If I see a local independent band I don't expect to pay as much as seeing a band such as U2 for example.
Tim Miller

I agree there are a large influx of new releases on certain dates but it is hard to avoid since it is different studios that put out the movies and it can be hard to ascertain when other studios will release their big films. For example, both The Mummy and Ausin Powers 2 both being released this week. There are some times during the year that are just a void – nothing at all released worth seeing but that's just commerce and all you can do is make the most of the films when they come out.

As for prices, if you play your cards right, it's not that expensive. I live in Brisbane where there is a bit of a price war around certain cinemas at the moment and so if you're fairly smart, it's easy to pick up cheaper tickets or two for one offers. If people really want to see a movie they'll more than likely see it eventually whether it's opening day or four weeks into its release. So I don't think it's ticket prices that really affect attendances - it's more about marketing the product (the film itself).
Matthew Toomey, Brisbane

My wife and I love cinema and would happily see 2 to 3 movies on a weekend (have beeen known to manage up to 7). Cost however is a major inhibitor. I basically will not pay full price as to do so would restrict the number of films I am able to view. I support my habit through Palace Card ($8), Classic Cinema Card ($7), 3RRR promo's, Astor double features with RRR discount, Lumiere with RRR discount, 2 for 1 offers, newspaper and distributor contests. Basically no longer use Kino, Village or Hoyts.

Even @ $7 to $8 X 2 (plus the almost mandatory choc-top and Malteasers) this prices a film at $20+, so that viewing 2 or 3 sessions becomes fairly prohibitive. The vast majority of sessions we attend rarely achieve more than 10% capacity (generally avoid peak Sat/Sun nights) so that it seems obvious that any way these seats could be filled would improve revenue much in the way airlines manage loads via appropriate pricing for less popular routes. Options would be to further discount sessions prior to 5:00 pm (similar to early bird offers by Village/Hoyts but actually have some films people might watch available) or offer off-peak discounts to regulars, point bonus systems etc.

All very complicated and providing problems with successful films (Star Wars, Life is Beautiful ect) so perhaps it would be easier just to charge $5 a head, first come first served, with booking options (say with $1 surcharge) for major films and sessions for those who don't want to risk disappointment. If this was the case our film count would probally rise to the 4-6 per week.
Peter Richards, Melbourne

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Agreed, the price of a movie ticket is too high, but I seriously doubt whether any amount of complaining is going to change that. Like the airline industry in Australia the 'big boys' of the box office compete with each other regarding sideline issues but have reached agreement regarding price. Consider that an outing to the movies for two will cost around $35 including popcorn and a coke. The opportunity cost is equivalent to the hire of at least 4 new release home videos, or a meal for two including a BYO bottle of wine at your favorite Acland Street cafe.
Also compare the price of a movie ticket in Australia to another country in the Southern hemisphere, for example South Africa, where a ticket will cost around $5.50 (R22.00 using an exchange rate of $1=R4). Crazy! Almost three times more expensive in Australia. Clearly we are being taken for a joy ride all the way to the bank and big profits.
Thanks for the opportunity to voice my opinion.
Michael Walls, Melbourne

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