THE two largest movie chains in the New York metropolitan...

salmagundi

June 23, 1994

THE two largest movie chains in the New York metropolitan area raised their ticket prices earlier this month but, strangely, there have been few complaints.

In 1987, when the Cineplex Odeon and Sony Theatres-Loews chains increased ticket prices by $1, up to $7, New York City mayor Ed Koch launched a brief protest. This time he was "uncharacteristically subdued," according to the New York Times.

"The last time I led picketing over movie prices, I looked behind me and there was no army following. I don't engage in hopeless causes. I'm no Don Quixote," said Mr. Koch.

When tickets start costing more than popcorn and a large soda, you have to ask yourself whether the luxury is worth it. Why pay $8 for an adult ticket when you can rent it for $3? That's a mere $1 per person for you, a date and a pet to take in a flick at home.

Of course, certain films ought to be seen on the big screen: the action-adventures, the mega-hits and the films with high-tech special effects. If each studio can crank out a Jurassic Park-sized film every couple months they're still in business. But who can risk $8 on something low-budget, artsy or experimental? And what theaters will risk showing these kinds of films?

Film began as a novelty. Then it grew into a science and an art. At current ticket prices, It's becoming big business and nothing more.

Let's hope the Baltimore area Cineplex Odeon and Sony Theatres-Loews chains don't get those New York ideas.

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