Movie Ticket Prices at All Time High Thanks to 3D

Blame the 3D goggles.

Average movie theater ticket prices hit an all-time not adjusted for inflation high of $7.96, reports the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO). 

Combating market intrusion by Netflix, streaming video on demand, BitTorrent, and other home-viewing options, movie theaters and studios have increasingly turned to techno wizardry innovations to lure them into the theater by offering them the one thing they can't recreate in their living room, even with a high-def flat-screen TV.

"It's not so much a rise in prices as it reflects how people are going to see the  movies," said NATO spokesman Patrick Corcoran. "More adults are going to the movies... there's more 3D and IMAX in the marketplace and they charge more."

The release of films like "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," "Skyfall" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" helped pump up prices in 2012. All were available in IMAX, while Twilight and Hobbit were also available in 3D and IMAX 3D. The Hobbit was also shown in some theaters in a "High Frame Rate" format, shot at 48 frames per second instead of the usual 24. Tickets for these special formats usually carry an average $3 markup.

The $7.96 average ticket price is up three cents from 2011 and the .4 percent growth rate is the 18th year of annual increases. However, The ticket price only just recently edged over into "all-time high" status. The bulk of the increases came in 2008, 2009, and 2010 at 4.4 percent, 4.5 percent and 5.2 percent respectively. In those years it became more  common to offer 3D and IMAX versions of films.

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