Back in 2013, I read an article reporting that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, two of the most successful film directors in history, believed movie tickets would balloon to outrageous prices of anywhere between $50 and $150 within the foreseeable future. I scoffed at this when I read it as a twelve year old. $50 for a movie ticket? Sure, movie ticket prices would increase, but $50? That didn’t seem possible.

Now, that doesn’t seem so ridiculous. This past weekend I saw Shazam! At my local theater, and my ticket cost just over $14. This is still a far cry from $50, but every year it seems ticket prices are steadily increasing. The Hollywood Reporter found that in 2018, the average movie ticket price increased by $0.14, making the average $9.11.

AMC’s Enhanced Dolby Cinema Theater  (via Boxoffice Pro)

Okay, not a huge increase, right? Well, yes. But, there are other ways of looking at how ticket prices are changing. More and more theaters are shifting towards giving their audiences more enhanced experiences. What does this entail? Reserved seats, better projection, huge screens: the typical movie theater experience, but a bit better. These enhanced experiences carry with them, of course, a more costly price tag. I saw Shazam! in a normal theater, but if I had elected to see it in the premium theater at my local theater, it would have cost me just under $19.75. In a more populated area like New York City, a ticket for Shazam! at one of these premium theaters could cost just under $24—nearly half of that $50 price mentioned by Spielberg and Lucas.

Eventually, these enhanced theaters will become the norm. This aligns with Spielberg and Lucas’s prediction. In that same 2013 article, Lucas mentioned how movie theaters would change to become more deluxe, big event experiences.

The growing number of streaming services will no doubt help Spielberg and Lucas’s prediction become a reality. Just a couple of weeks ago, Apple introduced their upcoming streaming service, Apple TV+. With this service, the unreleased Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, and a variety of other streaming platforms, audiences will have enough content to rarely feel the drive to go to a theater to watch a movie. And if audiences go to the theater only on special occasions, that $50 price point will become more feasible.

Spielberg and Lucas seem to be right on the money with their prediction. While unfortunate for fans of the theater experience, the industry is evolving. $50 movie tickets are on their way.

Featured Image via Boxoffice Pro