Special Report

The Cost of a Movie Ticket the Year You Were Born

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The global box office is on course to reach an estimated $34.5 billion in 2023, according to film tech company Gower Street Analytics. This represents a 33% increase over 2022, but still falls short of pre-pandemic numbers. For comparison, 2019 saw global box office revenues of $42.3 billion. (Read about the biggest weekends in box office history.)

As cinemas struggle to recover from both the pandemic shut-downs and the advent of streaming, ticket prices have increased year over year to reach record highs. This year, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the average cost of a movie ticket in the U.S. is $10.53. Depending on the theater and location of the seat, some tickets can run as high as $28.

To determine the cost of a movie ticket the year you were born, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the National Association of Theatre Owners to determine the cost of a movie ticket every year since 1948. For years in which there was no data, the Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index from the Bureau of Economic Analysis was used to estimate the cost. Prices were adjusted for inflation using the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator. The year’s top grossing movie is the film released during that year with the highest worldwide box office gross for its entire theatrical run, according to movie industry data site The Numbers.

Blockbuster films including “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” helped the box office rebound this summer, and were credited with bringing crowds back to the theaters in numbers not seen since before the pandemic. “Barbie,” which is set to be the highest-grossing movie of 2023, also made history as the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a woman. (Check out the other highest grossing movies directed by women.)

2022
> Avg. ticket price: $10.53
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.88
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Avatar: The Way of Water

 

2021
> Avg. ticket price: $10.17
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.35
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Spider-Man: No Way Home

2020
> Avg. ticket price: $9.18
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.73
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train

2019
> Avg. ticket price: $9.16
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.84
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Avengers: Endgame

 

2018
> Avg. ticket price: $9.16
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.03
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Avengers: Infinity War

2017
> Avg. ticket price: $8.97
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.07
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Star Wars Ep. VIII: The Last Jedi

2016
> Avg. ticket price: $8.65
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.90
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Captain America: Civil War

 

2015
> Avg. ticket price: $8.43
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.76
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens

2014
> Avg. ticket price: $8.17
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.44
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Transformers: Age of Extinction

2013
> Avg. ticket price: $8.13
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.55
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Frozen

 

2012
> Avg. ticket price: $7.96
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.48
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Avengers

 

2011
> Avg. ticket price: $7.93
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.66
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

2010
> Avg. ticket price: $7.89
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.94
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Toy Story 3

2009
> Avg. ticket price: $7.50
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.57
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Avatar

 

2008
> Avg. ticket price: $7.18
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.08
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Dark Knight

2007
> Avg. ticket price: $6.88
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.03
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

2006
> Avg. ticket price: $6.55
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.83
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

 

2005
> Avg. ticket price: $6.41
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.93
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

2004
> Avg. ticket price: $6.21
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.94
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Shrek 2

2003
> Avg. ticket price: $6.03
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.91
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

 

2002
> Avg. ticket price: $5.80
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.75
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

 

2001
> Avg. ticket price: $5.65
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.65
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

2000
> Avg. ticket price: $5.39
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.47
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Mission: Impossible 2

1999
> Avg. ticket price: $5.06
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.18
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Star Wars Ep. I: The Phantom Menace

 

1998
> Avg. ticket price: $4.69
> Price adjusted for inflation: $8.70
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Armageddon

1997
> Avg. ticket price: $4.59
> Price adjusted for inflation: $8.65
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Titanic

1996
> Avg. ticket price: $4.42
> Price adjusted for inflation: $8.52
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Independence Day

 

1995
> Avg. ticket price: $4.35
> Price adjusted for inflation: $8.63
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Die Hard: With a Vengeance

1994
> Avg. ticket price: $4.08
> Price adjusted for inflation: $8.33
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Lion King

1993
> Avg. ticket price: $4.14
> Price adjusted for inflation: $8.66
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Jurassic Park

 

1992
> Avg. ticket price: $4.15
> Price adjusted for inflation: $8.95
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Aladdin

 

1991
> Avg. ticket price: $4.21
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.35
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

1990
> Avg. ticket price: $4.22
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.76
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Ghost

1989
> Avg. ticket price: $3.99
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.73
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

 

1988
> Avg. ticket price: $4.11
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.51
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Rain Man

1987
> Avg. ticket price: $3.91
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.41
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Fatal Attraction

1986
> Avg. ticket price: $3.71
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.24
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Top Gun

 

1985
> Avg. ticket price: $3.55
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.98
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Back to the Future

1984
> Avg. ticket price: $3.36
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.78
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

1983
> Avg. ticket price: $3.15
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.56
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi

 

1982
> Avg. ticket price: $2.94
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.21
> Top-grossing movie of the year: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

 

1981
> Avg. ticket price: $2.78
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.25
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Raiders of the Lost Ark

1980
> Avg. ticket price: $2.69
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.87
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Star Wars Ep. V: The Empire Strikes Back

1979
> Avg. ticket price: $2.47
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.29
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Moonraker

 

1978
> Avg. ticket price: $2.34
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.85
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Grease

1977
> Avg. ticket price: $2.23
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.13
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope

1976
> Avg. ticket price: $2.13
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.32
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Rocky

 

1975
> Avg. ticket price: $2.03
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.41
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Jaws

1974
> Avg. ticket price: $1.89
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.59
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Towering Inferno

1973
> Avg. ticket price: $1.77
> Price adjusted for inflation: $12.06
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Exorcist

 

1972
> Avg. ticket price: $1.70
> Price adjusted for inflation: $12.30
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Godfather

 

1971
> Avg. ticket price: $1.65
> Price adjusted for inflation: $12.32
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Diamonds Are Forever

1970
> Avg. ticket price: $1.55
> Price adjusted for inflation: $12.08
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Love Story

1969
> Avg. ticket price: $1.41
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.62
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

 

1968
> Avg. ticket price: $1.31
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.38
> Top-grossing movie of the year: 2001: A Space Odyssey

1967
> Avg. ticket price: $1.22
> Price adjusted for inflation: $11.05
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Jungle Book

1966
> Avg. ticket price: $1.09
> Price adjusted for inflation: $10.17
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Bible

 

1965
> Avg. ticket price: $1.01
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.70
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Sound of Music

1964
> Avg. ticket price: $0.93
> Price adjusted for inflation: $9.07
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Goldfinger

1963
> Avg. ticket price: $0.86
> Price adjusted for inflation: $8.50
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Cleopatra

 

1962
> Avg. ticket price: $0.70
> Price adjusted for inflation: $7.01
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Lawrence of Arabia

 

1961
> Avg. ticket price: $0.69
> Price adjusted for inflation: $6.98
> Top-grossing movie of the year: 101 Dalmatians

1960
> Avg. ticket price: $0.60
> Price adjusted for inflation: $6.13
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Spartacus

1959
> Avg. ticket price: $0.51
> Price adjusted for inflation: $5.30
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Ben-Hur

 

1958
> Avg. ticket price: $0.68
> Price adjusted for inflation: $7.12
> Top-grossing movie of the year: South Pacific

1957
> Avg. ticket price: $0.50
> Price adjusted for inflation: $5.38
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Bridge on the River Kwai

1956
> Avg. ticket price: $0.50
> Price adjusted for inflation: $5.56
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Ten Commandments

 

1955
> Avg. ticket price: $0.48
> Price adjusted for inflation: $5.42
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Lady and the Tramp

1954
> Avg. ticket price: $0.49
> Price adjusted for inflation: $5.51
> Top-grossing movie of the year: White Christmas

1953
> Avg. ticket price: $0.60
> Price adjusted for inflation: $6.80
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Peter Pan

 

1952
> Avg. ticket price: $0.57
> Price adjusted for inflation: $6.50
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Greatest Show on Earth

 

1951
> Avg. ticket price: $0.53
> Price adjusted for inflation: $6.16
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Quo Vadis

 

1950
> Avg. ticket price: $0.50
> Price adjusted for inflation: $6.27
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Cinderella

1949
> Avg. ticket price: $0.46
> Price adjusted for inflation: $5.84
> Top-grossing movie of the year: Samson and Delilah

 

1948
> Avg. ticket price: $0.36
> Price adjusted for inflation: $4.52
> Top-grossing movie of the year: The Snake Pit

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