Batman: Pricy Tickets for Event Movie, Just as Spielberg Had Predicted

‘The Batman’: More Expensive Tickets, Just as Spielberg and Lucas Predicted Years Ago

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AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron announced that the exhibition chain will charge more for tickets to The Batman as part of a variable pricing experiment.

Tickets to the Robert Pattinson-starring comic book tentpole will be “slightly higher than the prices… for other movies playing in the same theaters at the same time,” Aron said during an AMC earnings call.

AMC is charging an extra $1.50 on adult tickets for “The Batman” in Los Angeles.

“This is all quite novel in the United States, but actually, AMC has been doing it for years in our European theaters,” Aron said. “Indeed, in Europe, we charge a premium for the best seats in the house, as do just about all other sellers of tickets in other industries — think sports events, concerts and live theater, for example.”

While “The Batman” marks AMC Theaters’ first notable use of variable pricing in the U.S., it’s a concept many blockbuster directors have been predicting for nearly a decade. Speaking at a 2013 panel, Lucas shared his belief that moviegoing would eventually resemble Broadway or sporting events in that theaters would have different price tiers for different kinds of films.

“What you’re going to end up with is fewer theaters,” Lucas said in 2013. “Bigger theaters, with a lot of nice things. Going to the movies is going to cost you 50 bucks, maybe 100. Maybe 150. And that’s going to be what we call ‘the movie business.’ But everything else is going to look more like cable television on TiVo.”

Lucas was joined on the 2013 panel by Spielberg, who added, “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even half a dozen of these mega-budgeted movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm again.”

“There’s going to be eventually day and date with movies, and eventually there’s going to be a price variance,” Spielberg added. “You’re going to have to pay $25 to see the next ‘Iron Man.’ And you’re probably only going to have to pay $7 to see ‘Lincoln.’”

Spielberg was right about “day and date” releases, in which films open in theaters on the same day they become available on VOD/streaming platforms, and now his prediction about superhero films costing more than drama films is becoming true.

Ron Howard also agreed with the prediction, saying at Wall Street Journal‘s 2020 Tech Live conference that movie exhibition is going to end up more like Broadway exhibition.

“The multiplexes are going to become a little bit like Broadway in a way,” Howard said. “That’s where the expensive projects go. It’s to get as many people in there to create memorable events. There’s also going to be a place for dramas playing out on big screens, more sophisticated fare for perhaps older audiences. The exhibitors are going to find that price point where the economics can work.”

Warner is opening “The Batman” in theaters nationwide on March 4. The movie carries a budget of $200 million. The movie is tracking for a U.S. box office opening between $100 and $125 million, although some pundits believe the film could climb as high as $140 million.