Major U.S. movie-theater chains, seeking to accelerate the surge in revenues fueled by such 3-D hits as "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland," are imposing some of the steepest increases in ticket prices in at least a decade.
The new prices take effect Friday in many markets across the country in theaters owned by such major exhibitors as Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Holdings
Inc. and AMC Entertainment Inc.
The increases, in one case as much as 26%, vary from theater to theater, but many cinemas are raising prices most—or even solely—for 3-D showings, which accounted for the vast majority of last year's 10% jump in domestic box-office sales. 3-D movies generated 11% of domestic ticket sales in 2009, up from just 2% in 2008.
At an AMC theater in Danvers, Mass., a Boston suburb, 3-D ticket prices are jumping more than 20% to $17.50 from $14.50, while the adult admission price for a conventional film will remain at $10.50. At one Seattle multiplex, adult admission is rising to $11 from $10 for a conventional film, to $15 from $13.50 for a regular 3-D showing and to $17 from $15 for Imax 3-D.
A 3-D Imax movie at New York City's AMC Loews Kips Bay will cost $19.50, up from $16.50.
The increases weren't announced by the theater operators, but were reflected in prices posted Wednesday on movie-ticketing Web sites, such as Fandango.com.
AMC and Cinemark declined to comment. Comment from Regal wasn't immediately available.