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By Courtenay R. Hall

Are movie ticket prices high, or am I just a cheapskate?

I don't know about the rest of you, but since having my children I have seen fewer and fewer movies. There was a time when my husband and I could say, "Yes, we've seen that." Now it is more like, "How long has that been out again?"

Between the kids and his work, we don't see nearly as many movies as we used to. Sometimes we try to Redbox or catch a new release on Netflix or Amazon, but we rarely make it to the theater anymore.

Why? Because it is a crazy expensive date night that doesn't even come with dessert unless you want to pay close to $5 for a box of M&Ms. If we do happen to catch a preview of something we want to see, it has to be worthwhile, and even then we try to hit the matinee.

Am I a cheapskate?
The average price of a movie ticket now is $8.70; around my neck of the woods, it's more like $9 plus. It's kinda crazy to think someone would pay close to $9 to see a movie. Or maybe that is just the cheapskate in me.

The reason for the surges is undoubtedly from the 3D movies and IMAX movies coming out now, one right after the other. The higher the cost to make the movie, the more the movie lovers have to pay to see it. AMC ticket prices on average are over $17 for the 3D movies and closer to $20 to see the IMAX version.

I personally have not seen a 3D since I was at Disney World when I was 13. And I have not seen a movie in an IMAX since a field trip to the science center with my classmates. I'm sure you have read that a lot of movies now are hitting record box-office numbers, but that is only because of the higher price of the ticket. Movie ticket prices have risen over $2 since 2005. I know that probably doesn't seem like a lot of money, but it is for a modest family of four.

Do the arithmetic.
Imagine taking your two kids and spouse for a fun family night out. Okay, everyone decides that going to a movie would be fun. At $8.61 for a ticket, that is $35 for a family of four. Not to mention dinner, snacks, etc. That could be one expensive family night.

I think that is why streaming services and Redbox have become so popular. For the price of one ticket, you can stream Netflix for a month. For half the price of a box of M&Ms, you can rent a movie for the night.

Order pizza, open some pop and make some popcorn. Sit down in the comfort of your own home, in your sweatpants and soft tee. You have one relaxing, comfy family night or date night that doesn't burn a hole in your wallet.

Maybe the tagline "Netflix and Chill?" came from someone who just couldn't afford to take their date to the movies, and Netflix was a cheaper version.

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