01.Reel rip off
Date night, girl’s night out, rainy day antidote for the family – name an occasion, and a trip to the movies seems like the perfect way to spend it. In fact, cinema attendance is the most popular cultural pastime in Australia, with 67% of us catching at least one flick last year. But the cost of a trip to the cinema has steadily increased – profits are bumped up through pricier extras, and the traditionally cheaper independents are shutting up shop.
Want to catch a flick? It’ll have to be in 3D of course, because two dimensions just weren’t enough. That traditional screen won’t do, you’ll need to see it on VMAX or the XTREME screen to get the full effect. Mustn’t forget the snacks – a barrel of popcorn and a bucket of soft drink please. That’ll be how much?
Seeing a 3D movie on a VMAX screen at Event Cinemas in Innaloo, WA will set an adult back $24 and a child $19.50. Splitting a large popcorn and soft drink will add another $13.50 to the bill. For a family of four, you’d be lucky to get change from $100. Be prepared for even more hip-pocket pain if you forget to bring your own 3D glasses.
WA consumers are not alone – Event Cinemas Bondi Junction in NSW charges the same, while consumers in Marion, SA and Brisbane, Qld pay only a touch less. Hoyts charges similar prices - $23.50 for an adult watching a 3D film on an XTREME screen at Chatswood NSW, Melbourne Central, Vic, and at Norwood, SA.
So, it’s not surprising that when CHOICE asked our members whether they still thought of the movies as a cheap thrill, the response was a resounding no.
“I don't take the kids anymore,” says Sue Brooks. “Last time I took them it cost me $90 for tickets and food!”
Leah Anderson agrees. “With prices the way they are and four kids, it's a special day. We can't do it often, maybe twice a year.”
But with some forward planning and a willingness to do without the add-ons, there are ways of reducing the cost.
$US7.89 average cost of a movie in the US*
£5.95 average cost of a movie in the UK**
$12.98 average cost of a movie in Australia 2010***
$9.34 average cost of a movie in Australia 2002***
* source National Association of Theatre Owners
**source The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Ltd
*** source Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia
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