/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Your view: high prices stop you going to the cinema

Bored people in a cinema

We asked you if ticket prices have affected how often you go to see films. Plenty of you said they have, hardly surprising when some cinemas charge up to £15 a ticket – and that’s before popcorn and refreshments.

Student Elicka wrote that prices have rocketed at her local cinema since she and her friends used to go regularly a few years ago.

Her experience backed up figures from the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, which showed costs have risen by 26% in the last seven years.

Too expensive, especially now Orange Wednesday has ended

It seems that many of you agree with Elicka. Martyn was one of those who said that only the Orange Wednesday cut-price ticket scheme made a visit to the cinema affordable:

‘The price was annoying but as I was using the “Orange Wednesday” option and splitting it between two people it wasn’t too bad. Now that Orange Wednesday has been discontinued I will not be going as often.’

Are independent cinemas better?

Some of you say it’s the big chains that are the problem. Wendy Tully said:

‘I won’t pay extortionate prices for Odeon or Cineworld so I won’t view movies there. Luckily we found Connaught Cinema in Worthing, West Sussex. Works a treat and we are regular customers.’

Marcia K also likes her local picture palace:

‘Our local Welwyn Garden City cinema is much more affordable than the larger chains, although we do have to pay for parking. I look out for special offers and sometimes get free tickets to preview screenings from ShowFilmFirst. I don’t buy popcorn, sweets or drinks at the cinema’s extortionate prices either!’

Would you rather wait for the DVD?

Some of you have given up on the cinema altogether and prefer to watch films at home. Alfa can’t even remember the last time he went to the cinema:

‘All the latest releases are on Sky eventually and we can watch them in comfort on our own big screen with surround sound and pause or rewind if we need to.

‘I don’t miss the uncomfortable seats, the head in front of me obscuring part of the screen, the feet behind kicking me, elbows to the side, the rustle of people eating food, and can only imagine the disturbance of mobiles. Don’t think we will be going to the cinema again any time soon.’

Do you think ticket prices are too high at cinemas? How much would you spend on seeing the latest releases?


I periodically get dragged along to the cinema. It came as a surprise when I payed for the tickets for a family outing. What puts me off more than the price is the adverts. There are various ways of avoiding watching TV adverts but in a cinema you are part of a captive audience.

” How much would you spend on seeing the latest releases?”

Nothing. Patience is both a virtue and a wise money policy.

That’s a good point. Many is the time I have “missed” a film at the cinema but caught up with it via a much cheaper DVD release or eventually seen it on television and wondered why it was so highly thought of. Film distributors make a lot of noise about the superstars in a film and say it’s “from the director of X” as if that alone makes it brilliant.

I’ve noticed that trailers for films are usually heavily spiced-up with extra sound effects [every moving thing makes a whooshing sound] and action cut-aways that bear no resemblance to the screened product. I’m not really that bothered because it is all puff, but I occasionally wonder how legitimate that is.

jack walker says:
28 April 2015

It annoys me intensely when i have no choice but to be bombarded with deafening ads that make
any conversation impossible, further compounded by the fact that most of them have already driven me demented on TV, which I haven’t had to pay to watch. In addition, I am quite often seated next
to a couple who are having a “Picnic” of popcorn and coke !
For a family of four, waiting for the DVD to be released, is a massive saving with other benefits !

Agree many of the adverts run the same script for far too long.
Of course cinemas get paid well for running adverts and trailers and the more popular the film the more adverts !
I have to admit to projecting very occasionally at our local independant cinema and do run the adverts and trailers at a much lower volume setting from the main film.

The ‘start times’ they give on the website are a bit of an underhanded way to get you in to watch the adverts and spend more money as a result too. I’m sure they’re covered by small print, but if you turn up for a 7pm showing it could start any time up to 7:45.

They know exactly when the feature will begin – should they have to advertise that? I certainly think so.

robin58 says:
5 May 2015

The cinemas do not advertise the actual start of the film for a good reason.

If you did, a lot of people would turn up at the last minute and then barge into the cinema up to ten minutes late, disturbing everybody else.

I know this as I used to work in a main cinema chain for many years.

Just ask when you book at the cinema how long the package will be. Most sites know by halfway trough Friday what the approximate time will be and will be happy to tell you.

Also you would not believe this but all cinema adverts are supposed to be set to a certain set level in production so they all balance out.. This level set by the advertising industry via the companies who do the advertising in the cinema.

In my many years in the cinema, I feel it was never implemented properly.

Another bug bear I have is when people moan about the price of cinema tickets. You do realize that say for a £10 ticket, £8 (inc.vat) goes directly to the FILM company and only £2 (inc. vat) goes to the cinema chain. Those big opening figures that film companies boast about comes from some where, Your pocket.

the price of cinema tickets are ridiculous, though supply and demand will enable companies to continue in the same vein.
I used to avail myself of Orange Wednesdays, and usually went in the daytime, when the cinema’s were virtually empty.
they could swell their attendances during the daytime if they decimated their entrance fees and just rip off the evening customers.
now that Orange Wednesdays has departed, you can still use a similar facility, or it may have recently ended.
buy any insurance product via Comparethemarket.com and you get the facility. it is called “Meerkat Tuesdays” or something similar.
the insurance product can be one days travel insurance to Blackpool. I found a product that cost £7 which was useless to me but it gave me the 2 for 1 cinema tickets for a year.
full details on moneysavingexpert.

alex says:
4 January 2017

I totally agree!!!

I was always amazed how empty the cinemas are sometimes!! When movies have just come out cinemas are actually full but a few days later even evening premiers are not even a quarter full. Would it not make sense to slash prices and get more people in?! Paying £11-£15 for the visit to the cinema is well overpriced! Why not get £6-£7 tickets and get the crowds back to the cinemas?!

I enjoy going to cinemas just like many other people because of the experience and I would like to go more but the pricing does put me off.

Honestly, what a bunch of killjoys. Going to see a film on a big screen is still, for me, the best way to see it. Yes, be a bit discriminating about which films, choose your nights, as all cinemas ( in London, anyway) still have cheap weekday evening screenings, or get membership that allows cheaper seats, discounts on drinks etc, or take advantage of your age or staus and make sure you ask for 60+ or student concessions.
Don’t just sit at home with the TV on, the film industry, especially for Independents, needs your support!

Livine 1, I agree with your points about the experience of seeing a film on a big screen – it is an occasion as well as entertainment. However I disagree with your last point. I do not regard an industry as needing my support – it must earn it. There is enough money in films if it was properly shared – like football it should stand on its own feet.

I fully agree that the film industry needs the support.
how else would they be able to pay the ” stars ” multi millions per film?

Rosie says:
6 June 2015

it is ridiculous I went to see Spy today and it cost me nearly £15 I understand that it goes back to the filmmakers which is fine but it’s only the big chain cinemas that get away with charging outrageous prices the little cinemas still show the same films and they charge a lot less even on the weekends.

I love going to the cinema and do so regualy but only because my friend is able through his job (bus driver…go figure) to get half price tickets. Im more than happy to pay 5.60 for a ticket. Would I pay full price…..not on your life, with snacks etc twenty pounds is more than the dvd will cost or the fact I could download it for free. Want to stop piracy and increase viewing figures then reduce ticket prices simple. Ps watched deadpool last night……awesome.

I have recently gone to my local Showcase cinema and the price has gone upto £9.50 for an adult ticket and the price for the drinks and food has increased. I also treated my niece to the upgraded seats which were £17.50 each. What a rip off. I got a few chocolates, nachos and that was it. I am now thinking twice about going in future it is too exspensive.
My local Odeon Cinema is nearly half the price of Showcase so if one can do it why cant they all do it.
Also the monthly subsdcription people pay to watch as many films as they want, you cant watch the latest releases until a week or so later. Same problem with Gift certificates. But they are quick enough to take the money from you in the first place. We need a code of conduct from the film producers and the cinemas to guarantee a set price charged to the Movie goer or watch the ticket sales fall, dvd and bluray sales decline and piracy increase. At the end of the day the Studios, Cinemas and Film distributors will blame the public not thier own greed for causing this situation.

I took a bag of sweet and salty popcorn from the supermarket into the cinema recently… not comments. Shouldn’t feel guilty considering how much they charge…

We have a fantastic cinema: huge 3D screen, 9:1 surround sound, exceptionally comfy chairs, free food and drink and best of all – no interruptions from anyone. It’s called our lounge…

If only watching the latest films from home were easy… I’m teasing an upcoming convo from me.

Both my sons have installed large roll-up screens (electric, and inexpensive) and projectors to show dvds. A relatively inexpensive home cinema and a good experience.

They recently went to a local “up market” cinema – not particularly cheap but small, all seating on sofas, food and drink brought to your seat at appropriate times and all in all not just watching the latest film, but an enjoyable experience. They’d go again.

Ian says:
10 May 2016

Still too many using premium rate 084 and 087 numbers for sales and pre-sales enquiries, and often also without declaring the premium call costs.

Still a few using these for after-sales enquiries – and therefore operating in breach of Regulation 41 of the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013.

David W says:
2 August 2016

I take my wife out regularly on Saturdays. A play cost £25+ each, Gigs/talks etc ~£15 each. Cinema £15 for TWO. Okay we get over 60 discount but booking online and being registered knocks price down from £11 to under £9 each. That is so cheap! And it is getting out and much more of an experience.

Richard says:
6 October 2018

What killjoys most of the comments are: complaining about having to pay such high prices, and those terrible adverts, and not being able to hold a conversation because the sound is sooo loud. If I rent the latest film from Amazon say, it costs pretty much the same price as a ticket at my local Odeon where the sound is fantastic, I have a comfortable seat, no mobiles being used, no incoming phones calls, a screen that is huge and immersive, and the pleasure of going out somewhere with my wife and teenagers all together … and maybe even a Nandos from next door when we come out. I love the cinema and it would be a sad day if they all closed because people don’t want to pay a reasonable price for a very decent experience: Stars Wars at home, do me a favour….

Iggy spiggot says:
27 August 2019

Years ago they had a National cinema day, and on that every ticket, for seat in every screen was £1. On that day every seat sold out, people were buying loads of popcorn and Kia-Ora (or whatever they sell now). I imagine they made more money that day than they ever would any other day all year round. Surely this is evidence enough that there are benefits for lower prices for the Cinemas and the patrons..