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  • Dec 31st, 2011 @ 8:13am

    It's an expensive business

    Ticket prices are a direct reflection of the cost of operating a movie theater. The industry does not release figures, but having worked in the biz some years ago, here are some of the factors:

    The building - heating, cooling, cleaning up after those nasty snacks, general maintenance. Look at the size of the building and estimate what that costs.

    The prints - theaters rent the films for the length of time they get (based on some arcane negotiations in which, of course, the highest-bidder wins) and first-run theaters pay the most.

    The movie theater biz is a series of big gambles, and the owners hedge their bets by charging ridiculous prices for the ancillaries like popcorn and soda.

    And it doesn't matter how old the movie is - houses that show classics also have to negotiate print prices and balance those against the number of cinephiles who will show on a given night.

    These practices have been around for more than 100 years and are not about to change. The studios would rather see theaters close than make exhibition less expensive.