Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Unconscionable Movie Ticket Gouging?

I had a previous post on stamp prices and several posts on food prices here and here. When I came across this time series of movie ticket prices back to 1910, I was able to create the chart above (click to enlarge) that shows inflation-adjusted price indexes for movie tickets and gasoline over the last 50 years.

As the chart shows, the real price of a movie ticket today ($6.58) is 80% higher than in 1957 when the nominal price of a movie was 50 cents, but $3.65 in today's dollars. In contrast, the average price of gasoline so far this year of $2.60 per gallon according to EIA data, is only about 15% above the real price in 1957, when gas sold for 31 cents per gallon ($2.26 in today's dollars).

Bottom Line:
Compared to buying a movie ticket, gasoline today is a real bargain. And yet you'll find 83,200 Google hits for the term "gasoline price gouging" and only 2 for "movie ticket gouging." And Congress has yet to introduce legislation to protect consumers from "unconscionable movie gouging," like for gas.

Oh, and what about the price of popcorn once you enter the movie theater? If consumers ever needed legislation for protection against "unconscionable pricing," movie theater popcorn would be a good place to start.


At 6/12/2007 3:56 PM, Anonymous Thomas Blair said...

I really enjoy this line of posts. I've been referencing them in conversations with friends and family. Keep up the good work.

At 6/12/2007 4:33 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Don't forget that in the last few years there has been a large increase in commercials made for television being shown in the theater, not to mention all those anti-piracy commercials telling people that paid for a ticket not to download a movie for free.

At 6/12/2007 5:37 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Oh yeah Doc...

You may be preaching to the choir here with this line of postings by you but like thomas blair says: "Keep up the good work"

Really good stuff here...

At 1/02/2008 1:31 PM, Anonymous jason said...

Seems like you are railing against history. The big jump in prices occurred during the 60's. From 1980 on the price has gone up and down and up and down, but is pretty close now to what it was in 80.

At 1/03/2008 9:56 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Start your graph at 1970, and voila, you can arrive at the complete opposite conclusion.


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