Average movie ticket price edges up to record $7.93 for 2011

The average movie ticket price in the U.S. climbed to an annual record of $7.93 in 2011, up from $7.89 the year before, the National Assn. of Theatre Owners said Thursday.

Rising prices paid by moviegoers reflect an increase in premium-priced tickets for 3-D movies, IMAX screenings and other specialty formats, said Patrick Corcoran, a spokesman for the theater association.

In the fourth quarter, however, the average ticket price dropped to $7.83, down from $8.01 in the last three months of 2010, as theater owners offered more specials and discounted tickets on Tuesday nights.

Total box-office revenue last year slumped 4% from the year before to an estimated $10.2 billion, while cinema attendance dropped 5%.

Some analysts blamed rising ticket prices for the decline in box-office revenue last year, but theater owners have cited other factors, including the types of movies Hollywood released. Business has rallied so far this year, however, with box-office revenue up about 11% and attendance up about 12% compared with the same time last year.

The trade association's ticket price figures are based on data from across the country and include lower-priced matinee and children's tickets.

richard.verrier@latimes.com

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