UCLA Entertainment Law Review
Introducing Price Competition at the Box Office
- Author(s): Reynolds, Harrison J.
- et al.
Why is it that movie ticket prices do not vary between films that
cost vastly different amounts to make? It is because the current model
for the production, distribution, and theatrical exhibition of feature
films is deeply flawed. Despite long-awaited federal action designed to
curb anticompetitive behavior, film distributors have continued to exert
inappropriate control over pricing at the box office. The result is an
insufficiently competitive-and hence inefficient-market for theatrical
exhibition. Previous scholarship has discussed some of the root causes
of this behavior and has called for ticket price differentiation based
upon the context of a screening (such as the time of day, the day of the
week, the season, or the seating). Some scholars have also suggested
pricing based on film genre. Unfortunately, these proposed solutions
fall short of the mark, and there has been a glaring absence of discussion
or scholarship about the market problems resulting from a lack of
price differentiation between individualfilms. This article analyzes anticompetitive
behavior in film exhibition, focuses on the resulting market
inefficiencies that ultimately harm the consumer, and calls for a
pricing system primarily influenced byfilm-specific costs.