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Ticket prices edge up in the first quarter compared to a year ago

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Average movie ticket prices dropped in the first quarter of this year from the end of 2013, but were still slightly higher than a year ago.

In the first quarter, the average ticket price for movie theaters in the U.S. was $7.96, down from $8.35 in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the National Assn. of Theatre Owners.

Ticket prices, however, were still slightly higher than the same time a year ago, when the average price was $7.94, the trade group said.

Average ticket prices -- which include matinees and theaters across the country -- reached a record level last year, climbing to $8.13. But it's still too early to tell whether this year will see an overall drop.

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The dip in ticket prices from the fourth quarter reflected the higher concentration of family titles in the beginning of the year, such as "The Lego Movie" and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman," which attracted more children and thus more lower-priced matinee tickets, said Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for the theater owners trade group.

Last winter, studios also released more adult-oriented movies such as "American Hustle" and "Gravity," which sold a large volume of higher-priced 3-D tickets, Corcoran said.

"It's really a reflection of what kind of movies people are seeing," he said.

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