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May 21, 2021

Shrek 4, the first-ever $20 movie ticket

As the 3D movement shows no signs of slowing, there should be equal parts joy and concern for movie goers these days.

The good: 3D movies – that is, the 3D experience – are pretty cool. While Avatar  probably won’t hold up as a standalone picture very long, anyone who saw it in theatres was unanimous. That was a ride, and I absolutely got my money’s worth.

Of course, that brings us to the bad. The money (3D tickets are markedly more expensive than the already-expensive regular movie admission) needed to spend a night at the theatre in 2010 is astronomical.

How high is it? Try $20 to see Shrek Forever After  in New York City, the first movie theatre ticket to break the twenty buck barrier.

Yes, according to the Wall Street Journal, at least four NYC theatres posted stunning ticket prices of $20 ahead of this weekend to see the new Shrek  movie in IMAX 3D.

There’s actually been somewhat of a maelstrom among movie theatre insiders since the hike to $20 tickets was reported yesterday. The theatre chain, AMC, said the pricing was an error which they fixed immediately, giving refunds to any customer who paid the twenty dollar fee.

But Richard Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG who first broke the $20 story, said the move to bring tickets over twenty bucks was quite intentional, even though theatre owners are “concerned about consumer backlash over 3D pricing,” according to a manager at one of the aforementioned NYC theatres.

Indeed, consumers don’t appear thrilled over the increasing costs of seeing a 3D movie. U.S. theatre attendance is down this year compared to the same period in 2009 – but theatres, enjoying increased ticket prices, have seen box office revenue actually grow by six per cent in that time frame, despite the dip in movie goers.

And for all the fuss over this $20 Shrek  barrier – Was it meant to happen? Was it not?  – ticket prices surely appear headed toward twenty bucks, anyway.

Tickets at those NYC theatres are still $19 to see a movie in IMAX 3D, and while they may not be as high in Canada yet (the most expensive IMAX 3D ticket here, by my count, is $17.99 in Toronto), don’t expect that to last long.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...