Movie ticket prices just went up at some Cineplex theatres across Canada in response to increased operating costs, including a higher minimum wage, according to the theatre company.
The price increase, which went into effect on October 1, is fairly small: between 22 cents and 51 cents per ticket, and not at every theatre, according to Sarah Van Lange, director of communications for Cineplex Entertainment.
But what’s interesting is the reason behind it: a memo circulated online suggests that a major contributor to the price increase is recent minimum wage hikes across Canada.
(Source: Reddit user “FabledSunflowers”, authenticity verified by Cineplex)
“Ticket pricing is specific to each theatre and depends on a variety of factors, including theatre location (urban vs. rural), real estate and operating costs, such as labour,” wrote Van Lange in an email.
“Minimum wage has continued to increase across the country and in some provinces by as much as 29 per cent over the past five years. During this time, we have kept our traditional ticket prices, which reflect the majority of tickets purchased, relatively flat.”
According to the most recent quarterly report released by Cineplex to its investors, the theatre chain employs approximately 13,000 people. Roughly 89 per cent of these people are hourly workers whose compensation is based upon provincial minimum wages, with some adjustments related to local labour market conditions.
Cineplex posted a record-breaking year in 2015, with $1.4 billion in revenue, about half of which came from box office sales. This year, which has had comparatively fewer blockbuster movies, has been less successful. However, box office revenue is still up 3.7 per cent on a year-to-date basis, according to the June quarterly report – with many patrons opting to pay more for things like VIP service or 3D films.
That same report shows an increase in operating costs compared to 2015.
“Movie-going remains one of the most affordable forms of entertainment in Canada,” wrote Van Lange. “It is also important to remind Canadians that even with these minor pricing changes, general admission into our theatres is still much lower than our counterparts in the United States. Interestingly, it is still lower in most instances than the price of a ticket at Famous Players before we acquired it.”