By Mike Stanford
It was a special occasion when Prospect junior Haley Drucker walked into AMC to see The Heat with her mom. When she went and bought concessions, it added to the rarity of the event.
It was not Drucker’s birthday nor had she reached a milestone in her life. It was a special occasion simply because going to the movies is too expensive to enjoy on a regular basis.
Drucker is not alone in having issues with the high price associated with a night at the movies. With ticket prices as high as ten dollars, it is too expensive for many teenagers to enjoy on a regular basis.
The high cost of a night at the movies is a result of all that goes into running a movie theater. Theater owners need to account for rent, employees, taxes and loyalties to production companies.
During the opening week of a movie, theaters make very little on ticket prices themselves. Usually, 70-80 percent of the ticket price will go to the production studios. From there, the studio’s cut decreases, but usually not past 40 percent.
Concessions, therefore, are the main source of revenue for theaters.
For every one dollar of popcorn sold, the theater makes 90 cents. The markup on soda is estimated to be even larger, but the companies, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, do not allow such numbers to be released to the public to protect themselves from bad publicity.
Meanwhile, students are lured right into the concession trap. The smell of popcorn and pre-movie advertisements convince many students to visit the concession stands despite the high prices. 55 percent of Prospect students buy concessions when they go to the movies, according to a survey conducted by the Prospector.
Teenagers have found a more economical solution to watch movies than going to the cinema. They use Netflix, an online, unlimited streaming service that costs $7.99 a month, compared to $9.75 to see a movie once at AMC.
More teenagers are using Netflix than ever before. Overall subscribers have increased by 1.2 million to 37.6 million, according to the Associated Press. Many people using Netflix are teenagers.
They see it as a comfortable, affordable and convenient alternative that can be watched at home.
Despite the obstacles, many teenagers still go to see a movie in theaters.
While 92 percent of Prospect students say movies prices are too high, only 48 percent say this deters them from going to the movies.
“Going to the movies is a classic thing to do on a Friday or Saturday night,” said Doug Meier, an employee for AMC Randhurst.
According to Nicole Barker, the manager of AMC Randhurst, teenagers are a large demographic for AMC, no matter the price.
However, most teenagers do not go solely to see the movie. They see it as an enjoyable, social experience.
“In the theater, you get the whole movie experience,” said Prospect sophomore Bridgette Jasinski. “You smell the popcorn, it’s on a big screen, there’s nice seating.”
Walking out of the theater after watching Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat, Drucker knows she will not be coming back soon.
Regardless of what company makes most of the money, Drucker, like most teenagers, feels as though she has been taken advantage of by the high price of going to the movies.
Upcoming Movie Releases
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Release date: November 22
One of the most anticipated films of the year, millions of fans will line up to see ‘The Girl on Fire’ try to continue her life in DIstrict 12.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Release date: December 13
Bilbo and the dwarves will continue their journey to the Lonely Mountain in part two of The Hobbit trilogy, following the graphics-heavy first installment released last December.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Release date: December 20
Will Ferrell will don the hair, mustache and suit as he reclaims the role of Ron Burgundy to anchor on the first 24-hour news station.