Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Moviegoers will soon be seeing a price increase for some movies at Consolidated Theatres. Patrons of the Ward 16 Theatres, shown here yesterday, will be among those paying $8.

Movie ticket
prices going up

Consolidated will charge $8 at its
Ward and Waikiki theaters

By Pat Gee

Some movie patrons are upset with the 50-cent increase in the general-admission ticket price to $8 at Consolidated Theatres' Waikiki and Ward theaters.

"Yeah, it will affect me because I'm a student and money is still an issue," said Chad Leong of Honolulu, who goes to movies at the Ward 16 complex about three times a month.

Others at the Ward complex also expect to feel the effects of the increase. Laura Esclito of Royal Kunia, who describes herself as a real movie buff, said: "Pretty soon you won't be able to take your family out. For me, even if the prices are going up, I'm still going to the movies. I'm a movie lover. I'll just be more challenged to pick the right movie to see."

Taja Chalker of Manoa bemoaned the increase, especially since "I come every weekend at nighttime."

General admission at other Consolidated theaters will rise to $7.75 from $7.50, with the military price at $6, children and seniors $4.50, and matinees $5.

Signature Theatres has no plans to raise its prices to match Consolidated's increase, which takes effect Friday.

A spokesman for Wallace Theatres, which has 11 theaters statewide, had no comment on the higher price.

Glenn Yim, Consolidated regional director, said, "Even with this nominal increase, Hawaii is one of the most affordable movie-going markets in the country."

And he noted that many customers qualify for discounts or can attend cheaper matinee shows.

Consolidated has 17 theaters statewide. Signature has three theaters on Oahu and is analyzing economic conditions and profit margins as it usually does before the lucrative summer months, said a corporate spokesman, Phil Harris.

The usual practice is for one company to follow with a price increase of its own because one competitor influences the others, Harris said.

"But we have not made a decision to make a change (in prices) at this time," he added.

Harris said the downturn in the economy since Sept. 11 hasn't significantly affected the theater business.

But despite Consolidated's increase to the highest price in the state, going to the movies is still the "absolutely the cheapest form of entertainment available today," Harris said.

"The overall quality of theater experience in Hawaii is marvelous and underpriced," he said.

Signature's average ticket price per person is "barely over $5," he said, considering reduced rates for matinees and for children, seniors and members of the military. The standard general admission is $7.50.

Ward 16 moviegoers say the price increase would probably reduce the number of movies they see. Reyn Cabaniero of Honolulu, who goes to the movies once or twice a week, said it would "probably make us go to another theater."

Whether Chalker goes less frequently will "depend on what movie is playing," she said.

"Or maybe I'll try to sneak in free," Chalker said.

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