Despite declining movie theater attendance – 2017 ticket sales were the lowest in over two decades – this year’s domestic box office is set to rake in more than $12 billion for the first time ever. This is thanks in large part to the rising price of movie tickets, which now cost an average of nearly $9 nationwide, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.
In 1948, a movie ticket cost a mere $0.36, or $2.88 when adjusted for inflation. The cost of movie tickets has increased at a near-constant rate since that year and shows no signs of slowing down. When combined with the money spent on popcorn, soda, and candy – the prices of which have all outpaced inflation – a trip to the movies can now take a serious toll on one’s wallet.
Moviegoers are receiving some benefits in return for the rising costs. Many theaters deliver higher quality projection than ever before and frequently offer large format screens and 3D viewing options, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. Seats and sightlines have also improved, and food and beverage services have expanded overall, with many theaters now offering alcoholic beverages.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed movie ticket prices for each year since 1948, and calculated the average for each decade. We also included the top-grossing movie of each decade.