This just out of exhib-distrib confab ShowEast down in Orlando: the National Association of Theater Owners is reporting that the average ticket price for third-quarter 2016 is $8.51, which is down 3% from Q2’s $8.73 but up 3% from the same July-September period. This year’s average ticket price is tracking at $8.60, which if it holds would best last year’s all-time high of $8.43. Still, higher prices aren’t keeping butts out of seats, as current annual admissions of 1.037B are pacing 1.5% ahead of the 1.022B for the January 1-October 16 frame a year ago.
The 2016 domestic box office per ComScore through this past weekend is at $8.92B, 3.5% ahead of last year at this time, and is expected to break 2015’s all-time record of $11.1B.
Unlike France, U.S. movie theaters do not count admissions. The industry arrives at the figure by dividing the total box office by the average ticket price. For the quarter, admissions were at 349M, +9% from the same three-month period a year ago which totaled 320.7M. Biggest driver this past quarter was Universal/Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life Of Pets which grossed $365.8M and contributed a bulk of matinee business.
Many of you might gripe that the last time you spent $8.51 on a ticket was 10 years ago; $12-$15 feels like the multiplex weekend norm for an evening showtime (iPic charges at least $25 a pop at its luxury venues, and that comes with free popcorn). However, when it comes to tabulating the average ticket price, NATO takes into account all ticket prices for all ages and time periods from its membership.