Average Movie Ticket Price Falls to $8.83 in Third Quarter

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In the second quarter, a moviegoer paid $9.38 on average to enter a cinema in the U.S.

The cost of going to the movies in the third quarter of 2018 fell to $8.83 in the U.S., down nearly 6 percent from an all-time high of $9.38 in the second quarter of the year and nearly even from the same corridor in 2017 ($8.93), according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.

For the year so far, the average price for a cinema ticket is $9.14, versus $8.97 for all of 2017.

NATO released the stat for July 1-Sept. 30 amid a boom at the North American box office, where revenue and admissions are up notably from 2017. Now that the third-quarter ticket price is known, that puts summer admissions at 482,791,030, a 12 percent gain over the May-August corridor a year ago.

Fluctuations in price are due to the strength of the marketplace, as well as the demand for Imax and other premium formats. The more people spend, the more the average cost of going to the cinema increases. It is normal for the cost to decrease in the third quarter, since it includes September.

It is also the first time this year that the average ticket price has fallen below $9; in the first quarter, a ticket was $9.11.

NATO has long contended that the cost of going to the movies has remained relatively static when accounting for inflation, noting that the average ticket price of $2.34 in 1978 was roughly $9.45 when adjusting for inflation.

According to data collected by comScore, NATO says audiences aged 18-24 made up the biggest segment of the moviegoing audience in the third quarter (or 26.4 percent). Top-grossing films during July, August and September with that age range were Mission: Impossible — Fallout, Crazy Rich Asians, The Meg and The Nun. That was followed by the 25-34 age group (22.4 percent).