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CinemaCon 2014: Movie theaters to test discounted ticketing

CinemaCon 2014: Movie theaters to test discounted ticketing
Theater owners say that plans are underway to test the idea of offering discounted tickets one day of the week. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Fed up with rising movie ticket prices?

Theater owners may have some relief in store.

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John Fithian, president of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners, told reporters gathered at the CinemaCon trade show in Las Vegas that plans were underway to test the idea of offering discounted tickets one day of the week.

Exhibitors in Canada and some Latin American countries have had success with the approach, and now their counterparts in the U.S. are giving it some serious consideration, Fithian said.

Fithian was vague on details of the plans, which he said are still being worked out, but said exhibitors in one state, which he would not disclose, plan to test the idea this year.

"They have a discounted Tuesday in Canada that works extremely well, so we're looking at testing that model also in the U.S.," Fithian said.

Ticket prices have steadily risen as theater owners have invested millions to upgrade their theaters with new digital equipment and improved amenities.

The average ticket price nationwide was $8.13 last year, up from $7.96 in 2012 (the average includes lower-priced matinee tickets).

But Fithian said the price of a movie ticket was still a bargain compared to other forms of entertainment, and was still less expensive than 40 years ago with prices adjusted for inflation.

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