Aussies pay big bucks to go to the flicks

Movie-goers can be kept in the dark on prices

Australians pay more to go to the movies than cinema-goers in the United States and New Zealand according to a review of movie prices by CHOICE.

At $18.00 per adult ticket and $15.50 for a concession, an Australian family comprising of two adults and two children can spend up to $67.00 on tickets at popular megaplex-style cinemas.

At a similar cinema centre in New Zealand, a family of four spends $33AUD ($41.70 NZ) on tickets and in the US the same family outing costs $38.40AUD ($42.20 USD).

“Taking into account exchange rates, an Aussie family of four spends just over $34 more than a New Zealand family and $28 more than a US family on a trip to the flicks*,” says CHOICE Spokesperson, Ingrid Just.

“Choosing when and where you go to see the latest Harry Potter film can make a big difference – look out for the cheap Tuesday deals or hunt down the nearest independent cinema to save some money.”

The CHOICE review into movie prices also compares the cost of snack bar items with their supermarket bought equivalents. A price differential of more than 50% was found on some snacks (refer to table below).

“Unless the cinema sells a particular choc-top ice cream you just can’t see a movie without, save some money and pack your own munchies,” says Ms. Just.

More confusingly, the receipts at one of the snack bars CHOICE visited was not itemised, nor were the prices of the snacks behind the counter marked.

“A night out at the cinema is expensive enough but without snack bar prices or receipts, movie-goers are left in the dark - you can’t even check to see if you have been overcharged,” says Ms Just.

CHOICE tips for saving at the movies:

  • BYO snacks – pick up some supermarket snacks before you go.
  • Choose your timing – most cinemas offer discounts on particular days or times of the week (e.g. $8 Tuesdays or Matinee Movies before 5pm).
  • Break with the chains – local independent cinemas, outdoor cinemas, community cinemas are often cheaper.
  • Join the club – some cinemas have membership programs and some also have dedicated seniors, kids or parents clubs. You may have to pay a joining fee but in return for brand loyalty you have access to cheaper tickets.
  • Discount books sold for fundraising (e.g. Kare Kard or Entertainment Books can save you up to 50% per ticket - watch the expiry dates).

Example of Snack Bar Prices V Supermarket Prices

Snack/Drink Snack Bar Price - (Hoyts, Broadway, Sydney) Supermarket Price - (Coles, Broadway, Sydney)
 Starburst Rattlesnakes (180g)  $5.10  $2.49
 Red Rock Deli chips (90g)  $4.40  $2.57
 Coca Cola (600ml)  $5.20  $3.45
 Magnum Ice-cream  $4.90  $3.30
 TOTAL  TOTAL $19.60  TOTAL $11.81
Snack/Drink Snack Bar price - (Event Cinema, George St, Sydney) Supermarket Price - (Woolworths, George St, Sydney)
 Blue Crispy M&Ms (160gm)  $6.00  $3.79
 Burger Rings      $3.90      $1.68
 Pump Water(750ml)  $5.70  $2.50 
 Mars Pods (176gm)
 $6.00  $3.89
 TOTAL  TOTAL $21.60  TOTAL $11.86

Hoyts and Coles items purchased 13th July, 2011
Event and Woolworths items purchased 16th July, 2011

* $12.75NZD/$9.35AUD per adult, $8.10NZD/$5.92AUD per concession. Exchange rate at 15/7/11: $1 AUD = $1.27 NZD
$12.15USD/$11.30AUD per adult, $8.90USD/$8.28AUD per concession. Exchange rate at 15/7/11: $1 AUD = $1.07 USD

TO read the full CHOICE report into movie prices please go to

Media contact:
• Ingrid Just, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

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