Is the price of movie tickets falling? Of course not. It may not look that way in 3Q: The average amount that consumers spent was $7.94, down from $8.06 in 2Q, the National Association of Theatre Owners reports today. But the numbers tend to bounce around from quarter to quarter, due in part to whether there are 3D films compelling enough to lead consumers to pay up for the higher-priced tickets. Last quarter was light, although it included Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Disney’s The Lion King 3D. The pricing picture becomes clearer when you step back to look at averages over time: The average for the first nine months of 2011 is $7.96, up 1% from all of 2010 and 6% from 2009. Regal also recently reported that its average ticket price was $8.78 in 3Q, up 1.9% vs the same period last year.
Has the success of Disney’s The Lion King 3D at the box office this past weekend conjured the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? Sony said today it will re-release its comedy classic Ghostbusters in a special limited engagement beginning Oct. 13 that will see the film have one showtime one night a week — every Thursday during October — in the U.S. and Canada and select international markets. The studio plans about 500 theaters for the new run of the 1984 film, which starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Sigourney Weaver and has been redone in 2K digital and 5.1 surround sound.
The announcement comes on the heels of Lion King 3D grossing more than $30 million domestically last weekend, the fourth-highest September release ever — 17 years after the original film premiered. Disney released the film in 2,300 locations. Moves like Sony’s with Ghostbusters could signal that the industry is taking a similar closer look at its libraries to see whether there’s any extra value to a rerelease. A secondary reason for a Ghostbusters revival: The studio has long wanted to restart the franchise and Ghostbusters 3 has been in developmental limbo for years, held up in large part by the studio’s inability to get leading man Murray to commit, or even read a script. A warm reception at the multiplex could reinvigorate that process, though recently Aykroyd …
FRIDAY 3PM: Very early numbers show Disney’s Lion King 3D roaring back to #1 with $15M weekend in 2,330 theaters; Warner Bros’ holdover Contagion #2 with $12M in 3,222 theaters, FilmDistrict’s Drive #3 with $11M from 2,886 theaters, Sony/Screen Gem’s Straw Dogs #4 with $8M from 2,408 theaters, and The Weinstein Co’s I Don’t Know How She Does It with $7.5M from 2,476 theaters.