Purely computer generated cartoon entertainment in our movie theaters is big business these days. Offerings from studios like Dreamworks, Sony, Disney and Pixar, make a big splash, cost millions to make, and usually return a tidy profit to the studios. Because kids will nearly always be entertained by them, and at least one extra ticket is purchased by an accompanying adult.
When it comes to mainstream animated flicks, I believe they mostly fall into one of two categories. Which I have titled, ‘baby rattle movies’ and ‘storybook films.’ As in, some are designed to operate on the same intellectual level of a baby rattle, and others are crafted in such a way to tell a story both adults and children can appreciate. And that’s not to say baby rattle flicks are necessarily bad films, as they do generally keep children entertained (quiet) after all! But think about the adults! Let’s consider the cost of a theater visit these days, and highlight a few recent offerings from the major studios, and the category they belong to.
Time Magazine and Variety have the average cost of a theater ticket in 2014 at $8.17. Box Office Mojo has the average for 2015 at $8.30. My local Starlight theater in Anaheim California only charges $5 for a matinee, as does the nearby Regal cinema. But if I drive to nearby downtown Brea, the Regal theater there charges $9.75 for a matinee. Drive a little further to the Irvine Spectrum, and the same ticket costs $13. And all of these tickets would be more expensive if I went to an evening screening, and/or, used a service like Fandango to purchase my tickets in advance.
So lets take the average cost of a movie ticket, per Box Office Mojo for 2015 – $8.30, and do a little basic math. Assuming one adult accompanies two children to the movies, the ticket cost alone will be $24.90. Let’s also assume this adult, for the sake of a harmonious visit to the theater, gave in and purchased some aggressively overpriced concession stand offerings – 3 small sodas at $5 each, and 1 large tub of popcorn for $8. The cost of this day out is now around $47.90!
Now keep in mind, just a few months after the latest animated flick has left the theaters, it becomes available to purchase on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download. Looking up Disney’s Big Hero 6 on iTunes*, the HD rental costs $5.99, and to purchase, $19.99. That’s a single charge that the whole family can take advantage of (repeatedly), and I’m willing to bet the movie snacks at home cost a lot less. Big Hero 6 hit movie theaters November 7th, 2014 in the US, and was available to buy in stores and online, February 24th, 2015. Just a little over 3 months later.
So what’s the point of all this? Well considering the cost, and the fact a lot of these movies become available to rent or buy just months after their theatrical run. I would suggest you keep a closer eye on what the critics are saying. You would only need to read 3 or 4 reviews before you knew which category the latest animated offering fell into. You could then decide if that pricy trip to the theater is worth it. A trip to movies should be an event the entire family can enjoy. And a great storybook film makes the experience, and the cost, worth while.
What do you think? Which animated films justified a visit to the theater? And which made you wish you’d waited for the dvd? How much does it cost to take your family to the theater these days?
More baby rattle movies: Monsters University, Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2, Madagascar 1, 2 & 3, Rio 1 & 2, The Ant Bully, Puss in Boots, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 & 2, Planes. Ice Age 2, 3 & 4.
More storybook films: Antz, A Bug’s Life, Brave, Wall-E, Meet the Robinsons, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Tangled, Tin Tin, Wreck-it Ralph, Bolt, Happy Feet, Rango.
* Prices correct as of 4/12/2015