/ Travel & Leisure

Do cinema ticket prices ruin your film-going experience?

A row of red seats in a cinema

Are you put off going to the cinema due to the cost? Elicka is. She’s a student currently doing work experience at Which? – read why she won’t be watching the latest release on the silver screen.

I’ve always loved going to the cinema. It’s the perfect place to escape for a few hours, relax and watch Vin Diesel in yet another car race.

That’s why I’m gutted I can’t afford to go anymore. Why? For me, the tickets are far too expensive.

Prices have rocketed so much in the past few years. A few years ago I could purchase a ticket at my local cinema for £5.50, but now I have to grit my teeth, smile and hand over £10.79. All the while I’ll be trying to dismiss the thought I’ll be able to download the film or buy the DVD for the same price six months later.

The cost of going to the cinema

When my friends and I used to chat about what to do together at the weekend, someone would always suggest going to the cinema. Easy, enjoyable, and affordable; we could purchase the ticket with whatever money we’d earned that week and still have spare change for snacks. Now, going to the cinema is something that’s only mumbled with guilty reluctance. And recent stats show we’re not alone in this either.

Figures from the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association in 2014 showed that ticket prices have risen by 26% in the past seven years, and even now they continue to creep higher and higher. I know that my own family goes less often because of this, so I’m sure many others have also learned to think twice before proposing an evening out.

We might approach a Leicester Square cinema with excitement and enthusiasm, but that soon turns to a dazed look when we see the £55 receipt for two adults and two children. And remember, this is the receipt before you’ve bought popcorn and ice cream (don’t think your kids will let you go without!).

At the end of the day, I have to wonder whether it’s really worth it. Going to see the latest Fast and Furious release represents a huge chunk of my money, but just 137 minutes of entertainment.

Have higher ticket prices meant you’ve made fewer trips to the cinema? Do you think the joy of going to the cinema is actually worth the cost? Personally, I think I’d rather just wait for the DVD release.

This is a guest post by , student and currently doing work experience at Which?

Comments
Wendy Tully says:
17 April 2015

Definately so. Although we can get films from Sky movies, we still like the cinema. Unfortuanately I won’t pay extortionate prices for odeon or cineworld so won’t view movies there. Luckily found Connaught Cinema in Worthing, West Sussex. Works a treat and are regular customers.

I sympathise with students who are finding it hard to afford to go to the cinema, because it’s an essential part of being a student and the cinemas would be empty without them; the film industry should not let this audience escape into the realms of the internet and TV. As others have said, though – it’s a question of priorities, and the smart phone contract seems to be more necessary than a good night out with some friends every week or so.

Cinema price increases haven’t seemed quite so steep as various other forms of entertainment – as Malcolm says, the cost of going to a live show of any sort has shot up into the stratosphere. We don’t go to the cinema that often but we saw “The Grand Budapest Hotel” about a year ago and thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was an excellent night out for the money at the Odeon in Norwich – a modern and very well-managed multi-screen cinema with a range of other attractions, an alert and intelligent audience as well. The last film we saw was “The Imitation Game” a few months ago and we thought it was well worth the expense [can’t remember how much now]’ although the cinema [Odeon, High St Kensington, London] was a bit of a dingy dump and the audience didn’t seem to be as absorbed as we were, a common aspect of most experiences these days we find, but overall we enjoyed the evening out. Good films used to come along in threes followed by a long gap [school holidays – excuse for screening tosh]. Rather attracted to “A Little Chaos” but can’t say there’s much else that appeals right now or in prospect.

Adam says:
18 April 2015

Our local cinema is £2.50 a ticket for standard, £3.50 a ticket for premium seats, and £1 more for both at weekends, and there are local shops nearby to get snacks for cheap, so that one is quite acceptable. However, we went to the Vue (Better times for us sometimes) and we ended up spending a whopping £45!! Jesus bloody christ, gotta save up for the Vue!

Jan Schmit says:
19 April 2015

Last time we went to the cinema it was spoilt by people texting & talking on mobiles. They ignore the “please turn of your phone” requests – not been since!

This happens in theatres and concert halls as well, sometimes during the performance. Since we don’t need to phone anybody when we’re going out for an evening’s entertainment we don’t have the mobile phones with us. No problems have arisen yet in twenty years of leaving our phones at home or in the car.

Can’t remember the last time we went to a cinema, partly because there didn’t used to be one near us and we invested in our own “cinema” experience.

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 !!!

A lot of independent cinemas in London have one ‘cheap night’ a week (usually Monday or Tuesday) where you can go for £6 or £7. The Picturehouse cinemas do this, as does my personal favourite, the Barbican. The Genesis in east London and Peckhamplex do full-price tickets for £8.50 and £5 respectively. And seeing a film at one of these indie cinemas is a much more pleasant experience than going to an Odeon, Vue or Cineworld.

There are ways to save with the chains too, though – Orange Wednesdays (or Meerkat Movies as I guess it is now), using Clubcard or Nectar points to buy tickets, or occasional bulk-buy deals where you buy several tickets at once and it works out to about £4 or £5 a ticket (these are quite often done through Groupon).

So there are deals to be had and I think they’re worth seeking out. I’ve only paid £10 or more for the cinema a couple of times in the last few years, while managing to see about 15 films a year. Don’t give up on the cinema!