Monday, November 23, 2009

Movie Money Ain't What It Used to Be

I was telling the BFF how I've cut down my movie going this year. In flush times, I LOVE to see a movie a week (except when there's nothing good out. This happens right before summer blockbuster season and in the lull before Oscar contenders come out in the winter). But nowadays, it's more like one every few months.

The BFF told me that, as a kid, she and her sister went to the movies constantly. They'd jump on the bus near their home south of Hollywood and ride the bus to the Wiltern (now more famous as a concert hall) and then on up to all the theaters on Hollywood Blvd.

Which somehow led us to the cost of movie tickets. In 1970, movie tickets cost .75 and minimum wage was $1.65 (I'm using the assumption that teenagers, most of whom make minimum wage, made up the majority of the frequent movie going audience.) Back then, someone making minimum wage would have to work around 27 minutes to pay for the movie. Compare that to today. The minimum wage is $8.50 and it costs $12.00 for admission, meaning that a person today would have to work almost an hour and a half to see the same movie.

Movie theaters claim to subsidize 25% of the cost of movie admission because they know they will make it up on popcorn sales. I find this questionable because my local theater chain (AMC) offers free popcorn to members of its Movie Watcher club. The other thing that this chain used to do that I found unusual was allowing in outside food. This summer I packed a goumet picnic to see the movie Julie and Julia. This has been the norm for years and years and this fall, it stopped.

Now AMC has turned into the nasty jerks like at other theaters. Say you've been out to a pricey dinner, are stuffed to the gills but you're not going to leave the left overs. Good luck getting them in the movies, even if you have no intention of eating them. Recently, I had gone to Costco and had a quarter ham. It was hot out; I wasn't going to leave it in the car. They actually tried to stop me from carrying it in! Like what was I supposed to eat it with??? Good grief!

The other day at the movie, I had a little tickle in my throat and thought I would treat myself to a coke, something I rarely drink. I stood there in shock when I realized the cheapest one was 4.50!!! For a COKE???? I asked for a courtesy cup and got free water!

When you realize that with a coke and popcorn, a movie can cost over $20 per person, I have to wonder if we are turning a generation of potential movie fans into video junkies who will never understand the great experience of seeing a movie in a theater. And for me, the die-hard theather afficiando??? I'm in the market for a much bigger purse!

1 comment:

ordinaryjanet said...

I'm sure that eventually they'll have a security checkpoint where they'll search your bag before letting you in.