Skyfall meant sky high prices

Recently, my wife and I went to the movie theatre to watch Skyfall, the new James Bond flick.  It’s been some time since we had a night out at the movies and the latest installment in the Bond series seemed like a good one to see.  Besides, I certainly didn’t need to convince my wife about seeing Daniel Craig on any screen larger than the one in our living room…

It must have been ages since I’ve been to the movies because I cannot remember the prices being sky high to see one, taxes included:

  • 2 adult tickets on Saturday night:  $21.98
  • 1 large popcorn, 1 large pop drink, 1 bag of M&Ms candy:  $17.60

Grand total less a few kilometres in gas:  $39.58

The last time we went to the movies, I don’t recall spending that much to go.  Maybe we had a 2-for-1 coupon or something from Air Miles our last time to reduce the price.

Anyhow, I was talking to another personal finance and investing blogger recently about how he sometimes puts the cost of things or activities into an hourly rate, to better understand the economic cost or benefit as a measure.  He’s a math guy and that math makes some sense if you’re trying to justify an expense using time as your baseline.  So, in this case, including our commuting time to the theatre and back, watching Daniel Craig at the movies cost this couple only $13 per hour, which doesn’t make the $40 tab for entertainment sound too harsh.

I don’t own any shares in Cineplex (CGX), Canada’s largest motion picture operator and exhibitor, but after witnessing the volume of people in that theatre recently, including all the folks in the concession line willing to buy the same overpriced treats for the show, it might be a consideration at some point.  As someone who watches where he spends his money more often than not I was definitely surprised at the ticket and concession prices that came with our Skyfall evening out.

What money saving tips do you have for moviegoers?

Lastly, do you ever think about putting expenses into an hourly rate?

32 Responses to "Skyfall meant sky high prices"

  1. You can’t buy the popcorn (combo) and then complain about the price. It’s popcorn at the movie theatre. It’s priced for idiots and whiny children.

    You can go 2 hours without stuffing your face, and while popcorn might be associated with the movie theatre, it’s not like it’s a human right.

  2. @My Own Advisor
    Long term I don’t know either 🙂 I expected their sales would have already dropped because of new media forms and technology, the same way companies like Amazon and and Netflix have taken marketshare from Bestbuy and Blockbuster, but for some reason the stay-at-home trend hasn’t translated to the cinema world yet. We’ll have to wait and see :0)

  3. We went to see Skyfall last night. Paid 8.99 each, 17.98
    We could have gone to an Imax for 20.00 each, but why.
    No food, we can go to a restaurant and have a nice meal for the same money.
    We go to the same theatre all the time.
    Bearly 20 people in the theatre. I don’t why the place hasn’t closed. That makes me not want to invest. 6% div yield another bad sign for me.

    1. Hey Kev,

      I can’t remember the last time we when to the theatre, but if you’re only paying $9 per person, that’s a good deal. I think I’ve only been to a few IMAX shows in my lifetime, although they are very cool.

  4. As you read we went to see Twilight Breaking Dawn last week. Let me tell you the prices are ridiculous. They are price gauging money from the kids and adults it’s insane and I don’t know how they stay in business. I get it, it’s costly but bloody hell amost $40 to go to a movie? No wonder people stay home. We had gift cards so it was free and we brought our own water and skipped the snacks. This is how crazy it was.. 3 young ladies in front of us with their mom. One comes back with yogurt ice cream, and the other popcorn and a big coke. One girl says to the other, “oh you didn’t get the Twilight Cup” she says “oh crap I didn’t know” the other says ” yes go back it’s only $0.50 more”. So what does she do, SHE GOES BACK to pay $0.50 for a Twilight Cup and this girl was in her late teens (boggles my mind) will she carry it to a party to fill it with rum and coke or put it on her night stand to googly eye it, oh Edward? Marketing at it’s best.. it works! Mr.CBB

    1. I was half joking about buying Cineplex. I don’t see theatres like that being sustainable in another 10 years. Your story was pretty funny but you’re right….just goes to show you that marketing works BIG time!

  5. My wife and I used to go to the movies a lot before we had kids, but now only go a few times a year. I am always amazed at how much it costs these days. We look for coupons or try and go to the cheap theater that has movies that are no longer in their first weeks.

  6. Skyfall is a great movie. I think it’s Craigs best one yet. I’ve owned Cineplex shares for awhile now. Great company with plans to broaden its base in western Canada and great dividend at over 4%. They don’t make much on each ticket, but most of their revenue comes from a mix of advertising and concession, which is over 80% margin. I like watching movies, so I figure if I’m going to be giving my money to the theatre, I might as well make some of that money back on the other side :0)

    1. Good points about buying what you consume Liquid. The thing is, I was half joking about buying Cineplex. I don’t see theatres like that being sustainable in another 10 years. In the short-term, yes, but long-term… I really don’t know. Thoughts?

  7. Mark, ironically Cineplex (CGX) is not doing well, something investors in the company are not doing their research on. The profit margin is only 1.09%,yet they continue to pay a dividend yielding 4.8% (a dividend they can’t afford)!

    They have been closing down numerous theatres, two large ones here in Vancouver for example (Oakridge and Downtown). With a high payout ratio and low profit margin, I’m not sure what investors are paying for in this company – it can’t end well.

    I believe they have priced themselves out of the market a long time ago, both for consumers and investors. 😉


    1. Hey Ninja!

      I was half joking about buying Cineplex. I don’t see theatres like that being sustainable long-term. They make most of their money on concessions I suspect, although I don’t know the math for sure.

  8. A couple of years ago I converted a space in the basement. Added a projector connected a simple computer, nice receiver, 7.1 sound and a wall screen (108″). All told I spent about $6K. Since then we invite friends over to bring movies, or connect a Wii and have firends/family time… At about $.40 a km to use our car, and as you mentioned high food prices, costs at the theater, maybe even babysiting for some, it was a long term investment that has paid “dividends” for my family and friends. Why put steaks on others tables, enjoy stress free nights in!

  9. Shy of $40 for the movies?!? I am not surprised at the high cost but still try to curb my costs when going to the movies. I enjoy watching movies so it can add up. I went to the movies on Saturday and was conscious of the money I had to spend for a few peaceful hours to myself. With the days getting shorter and it getting darker earlier I made sure to catch the 4:10 pm showing which counts as a matinee ticket at my hometown local theater. A ticket for one was $6. Had I gone to tge large IMax theater I would have had to pay more for gas and my ticket (around $10). I am also not above making a trip to the CVS next door for snacks. I bought two bags of candy and with my cvs rewards card it cost me $1.67. If I am in the mood for popcorn, I pop my own from home put it in an airtight ziplock bag and bring it with me. On this particular trip to the movies, I didn’t like the movie I saw *Breaking Dawn*, but didn’t feel bad bc I didnt invest too much money to see it on the big screen. Instead I went home and watched the tail end of a redbox film my sister had picked up, which was hilarious.

    1. Yeah, crazy prices right!?

      I recall our last movie, we brought in (maybe we shouldn’t have), bottles of water and snacks. So our last night out at the movies cost us only about $18. That was over a year ago.

      Putting your own popcorn in an airtight ziplock bag is a good trick. Redbox, are those art-house films?

  10. MY wife and I never go to the movies anymore. We either wait until it goes to DVD and rent it, or we download it from one of the many online movie shops.

    I actually prefer to watch movies at home as I don’t have to put up with annoying people talking throughout the movie, or using laser pointers or listening to babies crying etc etc.

    Far more pleasant at home.

  11. CAA and Costco have movie date night out options. Normally around $26 for admission for 2, 2 drinks and a large popcorn. If we go out we always make sure to grab one of those tickets first. No point in going without.

  12. I never go to the movies anymore, for precisely this reason. I don’t see the point in spending $40 when it costs me $5-7 (or nothing, if I’m so inclined) to download a film at home, and another $5 to purchase some popcorn and Bulk Barn candy. If you have Netflix, it could cost next to nothing to watch a movie depending on your viewing habits; you can really get your $8/month worth. The only incentive to see a film in theatres is that new releases (usually) aren’t available to download. But, I can wait a few months to see Skyfall if I’m saving $30. This is an expense that can really add up quickly if you love films.

    1. It can be expensive Josh. I saw a few large families of 5 and 6 at the movies the same night we were there and I’m sure they spent more than $40 for their night out. I suppose a lil’ splurge is OK once in a while, I mean, you have to live, but your point about waiting and saving money in the process to watch the movie through other mediums is well taken. You’ll enjoy the movie..I thought it was pretty good.


Post Comment