Prices for movies are getting out of hand. If you live in a major city then you're paying at least $8 for a movie and as much as $10.25 if you live in New York. According to these statistics from NATO (no, not that NATO), the avergae ticket price has been going up steadily for the last few years. Currently, the U.S. average is $6.03, and the average increase over the last four years was a little less than a quarter.
I don't mind paying $10 for a new movie that I'm really excited about, but I'd rather not pay that much for Walking Tall, not that I'm planning to see that. This is why I love second run theaters. You can see a movie in a theater for less than $4, even if you have to wait a month or two longer than the eager beavers.
Unfortunately, not a single second run theater exists in New York City, and I think that makes no sense. These days, I rarely see more than two movies a month in the theaters because I subscribe to Netflix and I don't feel like tacking on another $20 for movie viewing a month. If I could see movies for $4 a pop, I would see a movie a week. The theaters would definitely lose out on ticket sales, but one of the first things I learned as a film major was that theaters make their money on concessions, not tickets. If you don't trust the UW-Madison film department, check out this CNN Money article.
"Owners joke about being in the candy business," said theater owner Howard Edelman, proprietor of Movieland Cinemas, an independent string of cinemas in the Long Island, NY-area. "If you didn't have concessions at a movie theater, there would be no movie theater. We have movies just to get people in to buy popcorn and candy, where we make our money."
So, if you're getting me through the door a couple more times a month, then you're going to start selling a whole lote more packages of Junior Mints, especially if I'm only paying $4 for the movie.
I'm sure I'm not the first one to think about this, which makes me wonder why there aren't any in NYC. It just doesn't make any sense. I've done a little googling to find an answer, but I've had no luck. Unless one of my fine readers can help, I might turn to Ask Metafilter. We shall see.
Update (6/17/04): Thanks to Time Out Magazine, I found out there is one second run theater in the city. It's called Loews Cineplex State, and it's on Broadway and 45th St. Movies are $5.50. Also, you can see first-run movies at the Kew Gardens Cinemas for only $5 all the time. Oh, and if you REALLY want to travel you can go to the Columbia Park 12 in North Bergen, NJ and see second run films for only $2.