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Amid Box Office Woes, Should Movie Theaters Try Variable Pricing? | Hollywood Reporter

On its first Tuesday (July 16), the troubled action-comedy Stuber took in a surprisingly strong $1.4 million, up a huge 72 percent from the day before and not all that far behind the $2.2 million it earned Sunday. The secret behind the number wasn’t a post-opening marketing blitz waged in hopes of salvaging the R-rated Fox film, but a “discount Tuesday.”

In thousands of theaters across the country, the cost of a ticket on that day can be a third of the normal price — as low as $6 in New York and Los Angeles, the two most expensive U.S. moviegoing markets, where a ticket now costs upward of $17 or $18 (and that’s for a no-frills format). The overall revenue generated Tuesdays is substantial, fueling new momentum behind the argument that cinema chains should get more creative about what they charge, with such approaches as variable pricing, whereby the cost changes depending upon the movie, and dynamic pricing, based on time of day and day of the week.

The deficit between the haves and have-nots at the box office so far this year has resulted in revenue running nearly 7 percent behind 2018 (it was 9 percent before the muscular opening of The Lion King over the July 19-21 weekend). Consumers — distracted by Peak TV choices and streamers — increasingly reserve their moviegoing dollars for the biggest spectacles, leaving smaller and midrange titles such as Stuber in the lurch. Perhaps charging less for smaller-budget films would boost attendance, allowing them to compete. “Stuber should not be the same price as Avengers: Endgame or Star Wars,” says longtime distribution executive Chris Aronson, formerly of 20th Century Fox. “It just shouldn’t be.”

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Amid Box Office Woes, Should Movie Theaters Try Variable Pricing? | Hollywood Reporter.

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