Movie Ticket Prices Go Up

I thought I’d go see the new movie “Hot Tub Time Machine” which opens in theaters tonight. The title pretty much explains what the movie is about. Four friends who drink a little too much and their hot tub sends them back to 1986. “Hot Tub” looks like “Back to the Future” meets “The Hangover.” As one reviewer puts it: “Rude, raunchy, retro.” Cool. Then I read that the price of movie tickets are going up again. In big cities like New York, it’s reported that a 3D IMAX film will now cost you $19.50, up three dollars overnight. Whoa. Not cool. So I checked into it.

Have you ever tried calling your local movie theater to talk to a “live” person? Good luck. Luck must have been on my side because after an hour of trying, I got a hold of someone. But here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “Have ticket prices gone up in Tulsa?”
Movie person: “Sorry, I can’t give you that information, honey.”
Me: “Why?”
Movie person: “That can only come from our media relations department, honey.”
Me: “Alright. Can you just tell me what prices are today?”
Movie person: “Sorry, can’t do that either. I might lose my job. Call media relations, honey.”

You’d be proud of me. Not once did I call her what I wanted to call her. So I called the huge movie chain’s media relations department in a faraway huge city. And here’s how that conversation went:

Me: “Have ticket prices gone up in Tulsa?”
Media relations person: “The news reports are grossly inaccurate.”
Me: “How so?
Media relations person: “Let me send you a corporate statement.”
Me: “Okay. So have prices gone up in Tulsa?”
Media relations person: “Let me send you our statement about this.”
Me: “Okay. I’m just interested in the ticket prices in Tulsa and whether they’ve gone up, and if so, how much.”
Media relations person: “Let me send you the statement. If you have any more questions, let me know.”
Me: “Cool. I look forward to it.”

The corporate drivel arrives (but thankfully without any “honeys”). Let’s see, it says “going to the movies is still one of the most affordable out-of-home entertainment options”, and blah, blah, blah, and we’re “very excited about the 2010 film lineup, and blah, blah, blah, and “contrary to what has been reported” prices aren’t going up as much as 20%, more like “an average 1-2% increase.” But there was no mention of ticket prices in Tulsa. Isn’t that what I asked for? So I shot back an email with some drivel of my own. A few hours later, I finally got the answer to my question. Prices went up a quarter for both regular 2D (now $8.50) and 3D IMAX movies (now $12.75).

I learned two three things today:

  • Date night at the movies isn’t cheap, no matter where you live.
  • The media and media relations aren’t the same thing.
  • And I don’t like to be called “honey”.

I wonder how much a movie ticket cost back in 1986? I wanted to ask the media relations person or the movie theater person. Forget it.  I’ll just take a dip in my hot tub to find out.  It’ll be a lot quicker.

p.s.  $3.71 average price (thanks ChaCha)

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