The National Association of Theater Owners made public this week what anyone who has meandered over to Fandango or a multiplex already knows: A movie ticket has become really freaking expensive.
The trade group that represents theaters revealed that the average price of two hours or so in their dark rooms has shot up to $8.38, a big 40-cent increase over last year. If you're in a major city, you're actually salivating over the idea of paying eight and change to see a flick; an average movie ticket in New York City, for example, is around $13.50 — and $21.50 for an Imax 3D movie. There are cheaper baseball game tickets, especially if you're a Mets fan.
There are lots of reasons for the spike: from 3D movies to declines in actual ticket sales (maybe they're related?). More important, however, is how you can avoid feeling like pirates just jumped out of a kiosk and plundered the gold hidden inside your wallet.
The answer is Video on Demand. Given that major theaters are clogged with big blockbusters, there isn't a ton of room for the smart, silly, and experimental movies you'd have likely seen on more big screens just a few years ago. So, distributors are releasing more and more films on demand to everyone at the same time as they put them in a few theaters (and sometimes, way before); in 2012, the number of movies that played simultaneously in theaters and homes hit nearly 70.
A rental on iTunes is just $7 at most, and you can invite as many people over as you'd like. Plus, the popcorn is way cheaper and less buttery. Here's a list of some of excellent new movies you can watch on demand this summer, whether they're in your town or not.