Price Gouging? Marvel/DC Fans Can Expect Add-On Ticket Fees at Cinemas


 

Movie theaters are slowly making a comeback, owing in large part to the most recent blockbuster efforts from major studios like Marvel Studios, Warner Bros., and Sony. Spider-Man: No Way Home became the MCU’s sixth-highest grossing film, and Doctor Strange 2 on track to potentially match those numbers, while Warner’s The Batman made its own record at the box office with over $750 million worldwide.

 

But the future of cinema may mean these blockbusters will soon be marked up with a premium add-on charge. At least that’s what The Direct is reporting: 

As more movies continue to release over the rest of the year, the box office will likely continue to come back to almost what it was before the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic made its mark on the movie-going experience. Marvel Studios has two potential money-makers left this year in Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever while DC has Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam and Zachary Levi’s Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, although it’s not just the movies themselves that are boosting box office returns.

Ahead of The Batman‘s release, AMC announced that the company would implement surge pricing for certain movies, meaning that those tickets would be anywhere from $1 to $1.50 more during the first week of release. Now, as new hit movies prepare to make their mark on the big screen, it appears that the superhero genre will continue along this path for the foreseeable future.

 

 

And in a recent interview with Variety, AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron gushed about the extra charges on ticket prices for high-profile movies from Marvel and DC noting  that their strategy has turned out to be quite profitable, by only adding $1 to the ticket prices:

 

“It was a big success. We look at our marketshare on The Batman, and we clearly did better by charging that dollar premium. And it was only $1. It’s not like we charged double the price. There was so much demand that people were willing to pay.”

“It’s pretty simple. We’re a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. And when you do important things, there’s a duty to talk about it publicly. As a company, we believe in transparency. We don’t want to hide what we’re doing. We don’t want to brag about what we’re doing… but we don’t want to hide what we’re doing. Why they didn’t talk about it, you’d have to ask them.”

 

The company executive again confirmed that AMC has been “better off from having charged a $1 premium” on movies like The Batman. This also includes using programs like Discount Tuesdays and varying matinee prices:

 

“All I can say is that on The Batman, we know that we’re better off from having charged a $1 premium. We have plenty of discount programs that we’ve actively had been embracing: Discount Tuesdays; we rejigged all of our matinee pricing strategies last year; and A-list, our subscription program.”

 

This is becoming standard practice for other theater outlets such as Regal Cinemas and Cinemark Theaters as well. While Aron did not say whether further movies, such as future Marvel Studios films, will see price increases similar to The Batman, the financial success of the pricing approach and consumer willingness to pay strongly suggest that this will become the standard for huge blockbusters. In theory, this should allow theater chains to benefit from larger film releases while taking a blow on smaller, indie films that are less likely to do well.

 

 

As the movie business continues to recover to where it was more than two years ago, it’s becoming evident that this tiny uptick in top-billed movie ticket prices isn’t going away anytime soon. The best thing is that it will benefit everyone involved in the process, from the studios who develop the films to the theaters that screen them, all while costing viewers only a little amount of money.

 

Marvel’s next film will be Thor: Love and Thunder, releasing July 8. Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, which opens in theaters on October 21, will be DC’s next theatrical release.


Chris Braly

I'm a collector, a speculator, and one opinionated, based geek. My friends call me Braly, but those who know me within the hobby generally refer to me as Bralinator. I try to steer this tiny ship and can often be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several low-level, other comic book nerds. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly

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