European cinema chain Odeon found itself the subject of consumer ire this week after its flagship UK venue Odeon Leicester Square revealed a top-end ticket price of £40.75 ($52). The newly refurbished cinema will re-open later this month, showing Mary Poppins Returns.
According to Odeon, the cinema’s 22 ‘Royal Box’ seats range in price from £20.75 to £40.75. The ‘offer’ includes a fully reclining chair, extra legroom and width, and an individual table. However, the pricing has caused consternation on social media and was widely picked up by UK media.
AMC/Wanda-owned Odeon defended its decision in a statement sent to us, “Odeon Luxe Leicester Square is different to any other cinema in the UK, with fantastic Dolby Cinema technology and unparalleled comfort creating a phenomenal experience. With tickets starting at just £10 for every show – and a range of other choices including Luxe recliners and the exclusive 22 full recliners in the Royal Box – it offers fantastic value compared to tickets for other popular destinations like the theatre, concerts or live sports.”
The statement continued, “Price choices vary and flex depending on a number of factors including seat type and location in the auditorium, what we’re showing, time of day, and the number of people booking at one time (for example family tickets are cheaper per person). The first week of the biggest film of the year during the festive season is obviously peak, and guests can expect prices will flex throughout the year.”
Cinemas across the UK have been upping their game in terms of comfort and more on-site amenities such as bars and cafes. However, ticket prices have become exorbitant at many venues (particularly in central London) and the increasing stratification of the cinema auditorium is seen by many as an unedifying development. When the cost for a family to go to see a film is stretching into the hundreds of pounds (don’t forget concessions, parking etc), it’s cinemas who will ultimately feel the pain.