We have a wonderful customer base at the cinema who are happy with the service we provide and the prices we charge. As Penrith bites and scratches to hang on to its position as a tourist destination we also have many customers from outside of the area who are delighted at how little we charge in comparison with their home town.
But prices are, and have been increasing, and there is the occasional customer that takes their frustration out on my staff.
I can remember, of course, when chewits were 10p, or those small cans of coke were 7p (I think they are 40p now?) We all remember when petrol was cheaper and each week we notice that our food shopping costs are ever increasing.
Sadly this does not look like it will change, but we do our best at the cinema to remain competitive. We have rising costs of course, as do our suppliers. At least three companies we dealt with have gone bankrupt in the past year or two, it’s a challenging situation to be in.
Many understand that we are only actually making money for the 20 minutes before a film starts, and that the ticket price is split between the cinema and the distributor. We have no where near the buying power of a supermarket, so of course they will be cheaper than us when it comes to food. But we try to come in lower than a motorway petrol station.
But none of this really matters. Perhaps the issue is the value we put on goods and services? Sadly, due to piracy, £2 DVD bargain bins and newspapers giving away films for free, the perceived value of film is decreasing. It is becoming disposable, which is made worse by the industry responding to these new challenges by making broader, appeal to all, dumber movies … which we will have forgotten about the following year.
So how much is a cinema visit worth? Lets take Transformers 3 in 3D as an example (which cost over $400 Million to make – even more for print and advertising costs). An adult can come to our cinema and pay £7.50 (with the glasses) and watch a film on a big screen with 3D effects, for well over 2 hours and (hopefully) be entertained and have a respite from the stresses of life. With other films (probably not in 3D) perhaps the audience will be moved or inspired. For £5.50.
For an adult to go and look at some animals in a zoo it can cost £12.50.
Laser Quest will usually be around £4 – £5 for 20 minutes or so.
Bowling will be around £5
Last year I paid £4.50 to walk around a Maize Maze for a few hours. (and had a thoroughly nice day)
Perhaps that’s the future of cinema. Each seat will have a bucket of fish in front of it so you can relax your feet whilst watching the film.
Let me be clear. I am not attacking any of the above. Each one provides either fun or relaxation, and a diversion from work, chores and bills.
They have value …. but why is that perceived value often seen to be greater than engaging with an art form, with culture. (I know, I know.. I am on shaky ground using Transformers as a case study and then talking about culture)
I understand that is annoying to pay more than you did a few years ago to watch a disappointing film. It is therefore important to read reviews, talk to those that have seen it and make an informed decision as to whether you want to risk it.
But if you do risk it, and get lucky, you may just watch a film that will make you laugh or cry, that may touch your soul, that could stay with you for the rest of your life and change the way you perceive the world.
Thats got to be worth £5.50 surely?