By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — The average movie ticket price in the U.S. climbed to an annual record of $7.93 in 2011, up from $7.89 the year before, the National Association of Theatre Owners said Thursday.
Rising prices paid by moviegoers reflect an increase in premium-priced tickets for 3-D movies, IMAX screenings and other specialty formats, said Patrick Corcoran, a spokesman for the theater association.
In the fourth quarter, however, the average ticket price dropped to $7.83, down from $8.01 in the last three months of 2010, as theater owners offered more specials and discounted tickets on Tuesday nights.
Total box-office revenue last year slumped 4 percent from the year before to an estimated $10.2 billion, while cinema attendance dropped 5 percent.
Some analysts blamed rising ticket prices for the decline in box-office revenue last year, but theater owners have cited other factors, including the types of movies Hollywood released. Business has rallied so far this year, however, with box-office revenue up about 11 percent and attendance up about 12 percent compared with the same time last year.
The trade association’s ticket price figures are based on data from across the country and include lower-priced matinee and children’s tickets.