Movie Ticket Prices

TRON: LegacySince most of your students probably went to see TRON: Legacy 3D over Christmas break, let’s get started by taking a look at movie ticket prices and inflation.

Because the first decade of the 21st century has been a period of unusually low inflation, we’re shocked when confronted by prices that far exceed that rate of inflation. Perfect examples are the rising costs of medical care and college tuition.

While it’s important that your students understand the concept of inflation and how rising medical costs and college tuition can impact them, let’s face it – this isn’t money that is usually coming directly out of their pockets.

So let’s use an example closer to home – the price of movie tickets.

Each week millions of teens line up at the box office window and use their allowance or money from their paychecks to buy tickets for the latest mega hit. And this year they’re paying more than ever - 7.5% more to be exact.

The biggest culprit in this increase is the dreaded 3D surcharge of $3.00 or more. They can thank Avatar for this. 3D ticket prices in Boston are running as high as $15.50 and a theater in New York City advertised its adult 3D price at $19.50. In New York a family of four can spend $63 on 3D tickets.  All this before they buy their first bag of popcorn.

Try this in class…

Here’s a list of the average movie ticket prices from 2000 through 2010 and the general rate of inflation. Have your students calculate the movie ticket rate of inflation to compare to the general rate of inflation. The calculation is not very difficult. Here’s an example for 2000-2001.

$5.65 – $5.39 = $  .26      $  .26 / $5.39 = .0482 = 4.8%

movie ticket prices table


Charles Wilkinson, Publisher