Few dates are more popular than the classic dinner and a movie night out. Couples young and old alike have enjoyed this combination for decades – a perfect way to enjoy each other’s company for an evening. Yet, while the basis of the date has remained consistent over the years, there is one thing that has changed – the cost.
The cost of a night out – consisting of movie tickets and dinner for two – has increased from under $7 in 1953 to nearly $90 in 2016. The average cost of a meal at a restaurant has increased by more than 1,122% over this period, and a single movie ticket price has increased by over 1,596%. The average cost of all goods increased by just 799% over this same timeframe.
Inflation is the primary force driving the increase in prices, however a date in 1953 would still cost $62.58 in today’s dollars – significantly less than the same date would cost today. The cost of a movie ticket, when adjusted for inflation, has almost doubled. This is partially due to the theater experience becoming nicer with higher quality concessions and amenities. Many restaurants have also begun to offer more sophisticated meals than those that were available in the 1950s.
The rising cost of going out may be one of the reasons teens are shifting much of their romantic life to the digital realm. According to a recent poll from the Washington D.C.-based think tank Pew Research Center, 72% of teens with relationship experience who spend time with a significant other each day do so via text message, while only 21% do so in person.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed historical prices of goods and services, movie ticket prices, and the cost of going out to dinner to find the approximate cost of a typical date each year since 1953. To paint a clearer picture of what a date might be like for each year, we included a top-charting love song from the Billboard year-end top singles for each year.
To determine the average cost of a date for each year, 24/7 Wall St. combined the average price of a meal for two with the price of two movie tickets for each year starting in 1953. The price of a meal is based on Zagat’s national average price for a dinner out in 2016 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food away from home averages. Movie ticket cost data came from the National Association of Theatre Owners. The prices from 1989 onward have been calculated, according to NATO, “by surveying movie theater companies and asking for their total box office and total tickets sold. The box office is divided by the number of tickets sold to arrive at the average ticket price for the industry.” Prior to 1989, ticket prices were based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The songs that were included as “best love songs” are love or love-related songs chosen from the Billboard year-end top singles for each year. They do not necessarily reflect the absolute top-ranking single of the year.