AMC movie theaters started experimenting with more expensive movie tickets to try and combat the hit they took during the pandemic. Ticket upcharges to “The Batman” ranged from an extra $1-1.50. AMC Theaters lost $4.6 Billion in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their entertainment revenues fell a whopping 88%. My tickets (not AMC affiliated) to “The Batman” cost $14 a piece, but I don’t mind.
The uptick of streaming services and social media have severely devalued movies and theaters. People can have entertainment with a lift of their finger and never leave their home. Fewer and fewer young people are going to the movies with numbers rapidly declining for years. There are a lot of theories as to why young people are no longer attending the big screen, one of them being cost. With the rise of debt college students go into, it can be stressful to spend any amount of money that is deemed unnecessary.
The rise of ticket prices didn’t stop people from seeing “The Batman.” The movie was the second-biggest North American opening of the COVID-19 pandemic, grossing 128.5 million domestically. A highly anticipated movie like “The Batman” costing more to see was not a shock to me. This uptick in price was only for the opening weekend. Despite the pushback, this is a practice many European theaters do. IMAX already charges more than other theaters and many places charge more due to things like time of day, 3D screenings or certain seats. AMC following suit is not shocking.
I especially don’t mind paying more to see “The Batman” because he is one of my favorite comic book characters. I started collecting comics at nine years old. A dollar and two quarters was not going to deter me from seeing one of my favorite actors portray the “world’s greatest detective,” especially with how lackluster some of the latest on-screen comic adaptations have been. I will say I am incredibly privileged to have the spare change at the end of the month to be able to head to the nearest theater. There are some movies I prioritize and won’t miss, including those based on Marvel and DC comics.
Media and art are important. I don’t want to see movie theaters go under, I would rather pay the extra dollar to save them. Some movies are truly made for the big screen. No matter how many times a movie is watched at home, it never compares to the first time in theaters. However, as more movies have their premieres online, this experience is becoming less common. To quote director Martin Scorsese, “The art of cinema is being systematically devalued, sidelined, demeaned, and reduced to its lowest common denominator, ‘content.’” This is also putting theaters out of business in the long term. Too many people have gotten used to watching things at home the same day they release, and we have become spoiled.
During the pandemic, some movies went to both the box office and their respective streaming service on the same day. Disney+ and HBO Max both had same day theater releases on their streaming services. The loss here is that the entire team involved in movie-making doesn’t get their full cut like they would with the box office. For example, Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney when Black Widow was released on Disney+. Johansson said the move cost the actress a significant loss and cut of the box office. It was estimated she lost $50 million due to the Disney+ stream. The move, she claimed, breached her contract and her salary was only out of the box office gross. Later, the two came to a mutual agreement.
For everyone involved in the movie making process and the theaters I don’t mind a dollar and a half up charge opening weekend. I like supporting the art of cinema.
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