These days, going to the movies can feel a lot like going to the airport. Theaters offer all kinds of “premium” upgrades—3-D, IMAX, reserved seating—and all of them send ticket prices soaring. Moviegoers in urban areas regularly spend up to $20 for a single ticket. In fact, a ticket to see Man of Steel in IMAX 3D at a reserved seating show at AMC’s Lincoln Square theater in New York City ran for $23.50 last weekend. But Paramount wants to know if moviegoers would spend even more than that. Last week, the studio and Regal Cinemas announced a $50 “Mega Ticket” for World War Z, which included early admission to the zombie film starring Brad Pitt, plus a whole grab bag of extras (more on that later).
At this rate, will ticket buyers soon pay $100? George Lucas thinks so. While speaking at a June 12 panel at the University of Southern California that included Steven Spielberg, the Star Wars director predicted that Hollywood’s current obsession with glossy blockbusters over art-house fare would cause an industry “implosion.” “There’s eventually going to be a big meltdown,” Lucas said. “You’re going to end up with fewer theaters…. Going to the movies will cost 50 bucks or 100 or 150 bucks, like what Broadway costs today, or a football game.”