Regal, with three Manhattan multiplexes, including one in Times Square across the street from AMC's flagship Empire 25 location, had already raised its NYC ticket prices to $13.50. On the west coast, tickets at AMC multiplexes are currently as high as $13.75.
The increase came within two weeks of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. being bought by China's Wanda Group for $2.6 billion. And it's just in time to take advantage of advance tickets for The Dark Knight Rises, which go on sale on June 11.
While New York City ticket prices are often far higher than elsewhere in the country, and theaters might merely just be catching up to inflation, the price increases (if you notice them) are interesting to track because consumers tend to remember what they paid for movie tickets in years past. It wasn't too long ago that the $20 ticket plateau was reached for a single ticket, for IMAX 3D presentations at AMC's Lincoln Square multiplex.
Despite the increase, it should be noted that AMC is still the only chain in Manhattan to offer a significant matinee-style discount, albeit on screenings before noon.
Prices today for New York City movie theaters:
AMC: (Empire 25, 34th Street 14, Kips Bay, Lincoln Square)
Regular movie ticket: $14
AM Cinema (before noon): $7
ETX 3D: $19
IMAX (Lincoln Square): $20, or $21 for IMAX 3D
"faux"/"lite" IMAX (Empire, Kips Bay, 34th Street): $20
At the smaller AMC theaters (84th Street 6, 19th Street East 6, Village 7), tickets are slightly less, at $13.50 for a regular ticket and $6 for a pre-noon matinee.
Regular movie ticket: $13.50
Clearview Cinemas, including the Ziegfeld: $13.25
Angelika Film Center, City Cinemas, Landmark Sunshine, IFC Center, Lincoln Center: $13
Film Forum: $12.50
Quad Cinema: $11
Is $14 (or $21) too much to spend to see a movie? In my opinion it's not, so long as it's a quality presentation with adequate sound and picture quality. But is it too much to spend to try to enjoy a movie among distracting smartphone screens, talkers, rowdy and obnoxious crowds, and individuals who have little consideration for the people around them? Considering that most theaters do little to nothing to enforce basic theater manners, $14 is way too much.
10 Ways to Save Money at the Movies, or: Why Only Suckers Pay $13