High ticket prices don't dissuade Australian moviegoers

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In the last few years, Australia has become one of the most expensive countries on Earth in which to see films. According to the Australian consumer magazine Choice, a family of four (two adults and two children) would pay almost double what a U.S. family would pay at a multiplex cinema. They quoted A$67 for a family of four in Australia, A$38.40 for a family of four in the U.S., and A$33 for a family of four in New Zealand.

According to the most recent figures, an average cinema ticket in Australia is A$12.89 (US$14.18 based on the exchange rate as of July 31). Most multiplexes have a top ticket price of A$18 (US$19.80) and A$15.50 (US$17) for concession tickets. Children are A$13.50 (US$14.85) and seniors A$11 (US$12.10), but there are big discounts available on Tuesdays (some cinemas offer up to half-price that day) and also discounts for pre-buying bulk packs of tickets. The 2010 NATO average for the U.S. is US$7.89.

The magazine also looked at the price of food at cinemas and stated that a bottle of water at a major chain costs A$5.70 compared to A$2.50 at the supermarket.

Despite the prices, moviegoing remains one of the most popular cultural activities of the population. Some 66% of Australians went to the cinema at least once last year and 44% went at least six times during 2010. And 93% of 15 to 17-year-olds attended the cinema at least once in the same period. Australia has an average of 4.3 admissions per capita, the same as the U.S. and slightly higher than New Zealand’s 3.8 admissions.

In New Zealand, a newspaper report said that if 1950 cinema prices were adjusted for inflation, the average price would be NZ$9; instead the average is now NZ$15.50, well above the inflation rate.

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Films about cinemas are always of interest to those in the industry, but they have not featured strongly in Australian films, Phillip Noyce's Newsfront being one of the few that comes to mind. So I was interested to read of a new Australian film that has just started filming in the Western Australian mining area, the Pilbarra. The family movie Satellite Boy centers on an Aboriginal boy trying to save an outdoor cinema from developers. It is due for release next year.

E-mail your Australia/New Zealand news items to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.