Here’s a recent example: "’Stuber" should not be the same price as "Avengers: Endgame" or "Star Wars," says longtime distribution executive Chris Aronson, formerly of 20th Century Fox.
Is that because consumer know the “Avengers” franchise is a big deal? Well, I get that. I don’t pay the same price for a cheeseburger at McDonalds’ as I do from a fancy steakhouse.
Here’s a hint about what might be going on with movies. On some weak performing movie days -- like Tuesday -- some movie chains are experimenting with discounted tickets. Really cheap, as low as $6. That's less than a regular ticket, which now costs upward of $17 or $18 in New York or Los Angeles.
Some believe with more premium TV content -- coming from various streaming TV options -- consumers are increasingly reserving movie-going dollars for the biggest releases. For some, that’s hurting overall movie ticket sales, and shifting focus to the cost for consumers per ticket.
What then happens to the small movies? Not much.
For many, there is also MoviePass, a monthly subscription-based theatrical movie service, which got into financial trouble. Big holiday movies were part of its initial $10 a month package — a one-movie-a-day service. This was offered when the average per movie price in 2018 was $9.11.
MoviePass treated all movies equally -- like what TV networks and their streaming partners do for TV series. (MoviePass has since changed its pricing a few times.)
"That's the lesson of MoviePass — people will go to the movies more if price isn't an impediment," Aronson, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
What’s wrong with that? Modern streaming TV platforms also offer a one-price, all-you-can-eat entertainment. It's what MoviePass tried to copy.
Trouble is, for many, the variable price for movies is a definite signal to consumers — and not a good one. It could signal lower price movies aren't as good at the more expensive ones. And, truth be told, bigger action movies -- like the “Avengers” or “Star Wars” movies, or a “Captain Marvel” -- do cost more to produce.
Is this something consumers should care about, even with TV shows? And if so, should new streaming TV platforms -- from Walt Disney or WarnerMedia (and HBO), and others -- take note?