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This Is the Price of a Movie Ticket in the Past 25 Years

Inflation is back, according to most economists. Not all items will be hit equally. The price of gasoline has risen because of increasing oil prices. The price of homes has risen, due in part to low interest rates. Coffee prices are up, because of strong demand and modest supply. Movie ticket prices have flattened, though, because theaters are closed and video streaming has crippled demand.

According to movie data site The Numbers, movie ticket prices have doubled since 1996, 25 years ago. The rise flattened in the past three years, at $9.19 for 2019, 2020 and so far this year. The increases in the two years before that were modest. The price of a ticket in 2018 was $9.11 and in 2017 was $9.87.

What happened to slow ticket price increases? A slowdown in overall movie revenue brought in through theaters probably is part of the reason. Total box office revenue rose only 11% between 2009 and 2019, from $10.6 billion to $11.3 billion. Sales peaked in 2018 at $11.9 billion. Netflix started its streaming business in 2007, although the real growth began until a few years later. This likely is no coincidence. Hulu was started in 2007, and Amazon Prime started to stream movies two years later.

There is a theory that the movie industry, in theaters, priced itself out of the market. While the average movie ticket price is $9.19, in many theaters in large cities, the price jumped to over $15. With popcorn and candy, the price to go see a show can be over $20. No one knows for sure, but that, by itself, may have capped demand.

The Average Price of a Movie Ticket for the Past 25 Years

Year Price
2021 $9.16
2020 $9.16
2019 $9.16
2018 $9.11
2017 $8.97
2016 $8.65
2015 $8.43
2014 $8.17
2013 $8.13
2012 $7.96
2011 $7.93
2010 $7.89
2009 $7.50
2008 $7.18
2007 $6.88
2006 $6.55
2005 $6.41
2004 $6.21
2003 $6.03
2002 $5.81
2001 $5.66
2000 $5.39
1999 $5.08
1998 $4.69
1997 $4.59
1996 $4.35

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