Movie Ticket Price may be Too High

2011/12/21 16:35:00 (Beijing Time)   Source:CRI    By:

A recent survey on film ticket prices was done by the Social Survey Institute of China; it shows that nearly half of respondents think movie ticket prices aren't affordable. 35 percent think the price is high enough that they only go to cinemas occasionally.

How much are movie tickets in Beijing? Manager Zhang of Beijing UME International Cineplex explains.

"Ticket price for those low-budget films without big-name actors is usually 60 yuan. For those with strong casts, the price is 70 yuan or a bit above that. And it's 80 yuan for 3D films, 90 to 120 yuan for Imax movies."

Zhang says the prices may rise by five to ten yuan on special days like Christmas. And for its VIP hall, ticket prices float around 120 to 150 yuan.

Li Yizhong is the director of the Cinema and Television Studies Department of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He says that 70 yuan is incredibly high comparing with other countries.

"Movie ticket price accounts for 2.3 percent of urban residents' disposable monthly income in China. The number is merely 0.5 percent in developed countries like America. It's usually below 1 percent worldwide."

Li Yizhong says high-priced tickets have kept people out of cinema and led to massive downloads of pirated films and purchases of copied DVDs. According to official statistics, China's copied DVD market revenue reached 6 billion US dollars last year in China and the total box-office gross was merely 1.5 billion.

Li Yizhong says piracy prevalence isn't the worst result; the high-priced ticket has greatly slowed the growth of home-grown movies.

"Many excellent home-grown Chinese movies are coming out these days. But since the ticket prices are too high, no one will pay 60 yuan for a small-budget film. So those films are often box-office disasters. It's a lose-lose situation for everyone."

Then what is an acceptable price range for movie goers? Li Yizhong says he has carried out a trail in a cinema in downtown Shanghai. Viewers are allowed to watch a movie free first, then asked to pay it according to their own will. There were people who paid 100 yuan for it as well as those who paid nothing. However, the average number came out to be about 19 yuan.

But Li Yizhong says such a price-cut isn't easy to realize.

"The film industry has long been commercialized. That means the government can't interfere with it. It is film producers, distributors and cinemas who set the prices together. In pursuit of big box-office success, it's not likely that they'll lower the price."

Li Yizhong believes lower ticket price will attract more audiences, and that will in return guarantee the profit for all parties involved.

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