Thursday, October 27, 2011

$16 matinee?

Evidently that's the going rate to see a Sunday matinee at the Arclight Hollywood movie theatre in Los Angeles. Shocking, isn't it? I'd been to the Arclight before to see the  recently reviewed on CineRobot Attack the Block and The Skin I Live In and was ready to fork over the usual $13.50 to see a 4:20 screening of The Ides of March. I informed the Arclight employee that we needed two tickets and when I was told it was going to be $32 thought there was some kind of confusion on his part.

"I want two tickets," I attempted again.
"It's going to be $32 for two tickets," he blankly responded. I'm sure this befuddlement on my part was nothing new to this person regarding ticket prices on a Sunday.

Basic math skills destroyed by sticker shock as if I was facing my own personal kryptonite, I still wasn't able to figure out that it was going to be $16 a ticket to see a matinee of this movie. Five seconds later, my brain was able to register the simple division of 32/2 = 16. Understanding the math didn't mean I liked what I was hearing.

"$16 a ticket? You have got to be kidding me. I paid $13.50 last time here. Do you not have a matinee price on weekends?"
"On Sundays, every screening is $16."

After a short debate with Sarah, we got two tickets. I'm not a cheap person and even though $13.50 is crazy high for a movie, I still would have paid it. But, $16 for a Sunday matinee? That is sheer lunacy. Did I mention the fact that we were going to have to pay $3 in parking costs? So, our 100 minute screening of The Ides of March cost us $35. Sarah wanted to get something at the concession stand, but resisted due to the fact that the tiniest purchase would have vaulted us over the $40 mark.

Among many things wrong with paying $16 to see a movie, at the forefront is the fact that there is a lot of pressure on that film to actually be good. Every five minutes during The Ides of March, I flashed back to the number of "16" in my head and began to think, "Is this movie worth $16?" That can't be a wise marketing element to the movie going experience and is just one more thing that the movie industry is doing wrong. If I was going to one movie every couple of months, I'd pony up the $16 whilst grousing to anyone within earshot of how I [or rather we, the movie going public] was being unfairly gouged, but I go to a lot of movies and the $16 per ticket amount that might require the selling of my plasma if I was to keep up my current pace of paying to see films in a theatre. I happen to be unemployed at the moment--I can't afford that! I guess I won't be seeing that many new releases with the $13.50 price being the lowest on offering in Los Angeles for a new release.

More Netflix and $7 double feature New Beverly screenings for me it looks like. It just doesn't make great business sense to me. You'd think the theatres [and the movie industry as a whole] would want as many repeat viewers to see a multitude of movies as possible, not feel cheated by paying an exorbitant price for a Sunday matinee. What makes more money? Ten screenings at $12 or five screenings at $16? Even my woeful basic math tells me that 120>80 every time. Granted, those numbers are just pulled out of the air by me, but there is no way I'll be going back to the Arclight and paying $16. They just lost a customer and that means they are losing money instead of making the large amount I might have paid to see films there with fair pricing.

To end this distressing post on a much brighter, happier place--here's a photo of me walking Mozi in our Los Angeles neighborhood! I think she's lost a couple of pounds due to the walks and the going up and down the stairs to the second floor apartment.


Guy Gadbois said...

sorry, but it looks likes Mozi's still the same cute, cuddly fat ass we came to know & love.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

No! Mozi has trimmed a few pounds off her stocky frame I'm telling you. She's still sleeping on the couch most of the day, but four times she goes on a brisk neighborhood walk. Has got to burn the calories off!

hidden staircase said...


ah LA mozi! so cute. so weird though, to see you standing with her in an obviously LA neighborhood!i'm still adjusting to your move...

The Dude said...

Great to see Mozi doing well in LA. Shouldn't you be carrying a bag?

About the pricing: I don't think this is so much a movie industry thing as it is a real estate thing. You know, trying to maximize the cash flow for the location.

A few years ago Coca Cola experimented with variable/demand based pricing in machine dispensers. When the temperature increased above say, 80 degrees and the machines detected more frequent use, the price would increase from around $1 to $1.75. That might be a good idea but, the tried this stunt in a Brazilian soccer stadium. Well, needless to say the fans were unimpressed and wrecked the stadium. You might want together some friends together and demonstrate your displeasure.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

Interesting story Dude and I loved the Brazilian initiative regarding the price gauging. Then again, are we sure the home team wasn't losing and the Brazilians used it as an excuse to trash the stadium? Those soccer fans are kind of high strung.

Oh, I carry my plastic bag in back pocket until I need it. I sometimes remember a few hours later I have been walking around w/ a plastic back in my back pocket. I'm waiting to catch someone in the act of not picking up the p**p as it's irritating as all get-out.