Movie Ticket Prices Rise in Japan for First Time in 26 Years

CJ CGV 4DX Theater - H 2013

The standard admission rises to $17.50 (1,900 yen), though the average price paid is lower due to multiple discounts available.

Cinema ticket prices rose in Japan for the first time in 26 years as two of the largest multiplex operators hiked the standard cost of admission starting June 1.

Toho Cinemas and 109 Cinemas raised the price of a regular ticket by just less than a dollar (100 yen) to $17.50 (1,900 yen), while other chains raised the price of some discount tickets or regular admissions at some locations.

In reality, the average price paid by cinemagoers in Japan has been $12.15 (1,315 yen), due to discounts for students, women, seniors, married couples over 50 and for everyone on certain days of the month. The 100 yen price hike will apply to most of these discount rates.

Prices have stayed relatively stable since the last hike in 1993, after which average paid prices actually fell for three years along with admissions, which dropped below 120 million in 1996. Admissions have since rebounded, hitting a decades-high 180 million in 2016.

Screen numbers have also rebounded from a low of 1,734 in 1996 to 3,561 last year, according to the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan.

Higher prices for 3D, 4DX, Imax and other premium screenings have pushed up average prices slightly in recent decades, but against a background of price stagflation in the wider economy, it has been difficult for the industry to hike standard prices.

Japan's box office topped $2 billion again last year, with imports taking around 45 percent of that.