Movie ticket prices rise more than ever in 2010

Some fear consumer fatigue with high-priced 3D films

Movie theater operators have gotten away with the biggest year-over-year price increases ever in 2010 as attendance has stayed pretty much unchanged compared to 2009.

TheWrap.com reported that average admission costs are up more than 40 cents, or 5%, this year. The National Association of Theater Owners said attendance is down less than 1% from 2009.

The question facing industry executives is whether consumers will revolt sooner or later.
TheWrap argued that high 3D prices had at least some role in the disappointing performance of recent boxoffice fare, such as "Piranha 3D."

BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield in a research note on Thursday argued that "consumer 3D fatigue is already starting to show given the abusive ticket prices that exhibitors are charging for poor 3D content." And he criticized studios for a lack of quality product. "Hollywood is putting out bad 3D movie after bad 3D movie," he said, citing that the recent "Cats and Dogs" sequel in 3D was priced $3-$5 above "Inception."

Greenfield is particularly concerned about family films in 3D "as we have witnessed numerous five-year-olds spending more time playing with their 3D glasses than watching the movie."
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