The Q3 figure out today from the National Association of Theater Owners represents a 4.2% decline from Q2 (when it was $8.12), and is down 2% vs the same quarter last year ($7.94). The drop is consistent with what we’ve heard so far from exhibition chains that have reported Q3 earnings: Although they raised the prices they charge for tickets, the average is down because they sold fewer premium-priced tickets for 3D and large screen films than they did in the same period last year. NATO says that the average admission payment in the first three quarters of 2012 came to $7.94, which is two cents higher than the full-year figure for 2011. The industry is eager to persuade consumers that it’s still a bargain to go to the movies. The average ticket price in 1972 — $1.70 — would come to $9.41 today after adjusting for inflation, NATO says.

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