Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the big blockbuster movie that’s kicking off the summer movie season 2022 – and theater chains are trying to take advantage. Reports are in after Doctor Strange 2’s big opening weekend, and we’re hearing that certain theater chains upcharged consumers to see the film. A breakdown of the opening weekend box office analytics for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness took a look at how the film reached its total (which is currently being estimated to be between $185-195 million) – and upcharging for tickets was definitely part of the discussion.

Here’s what Deadline noted in its Monday box office report for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: “Meanwhile, in case you were wondering, why, yes – the big chains and other exhibitors did upcharge on Doctor Strange 2 next to other films. Hey, after being movie theaters were closed for roughly a year between 2020-2021, they gotta eat. By and large, AMC is commanding the highest average ticket price for the Sam Raimi movie at $14.84, with Regal second at $13.77. Data is courtesy of EntTelligence.”

This news only further pushes us towards the model of theatrical movie sales that filmmakers like Steven Speilberg and George Lucas were predicting a decade ago: big-budget blockbusters being sold at premium prices at theaters, while prestige or mid-budget films struggle to perform at lower cost: “you’re gonna have to pay $25 for the next Iron Man, you’re probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln,Speilberg said back in 2013. The filmmaker went on to predict that “I think eventually the Lincolns will go away and they’re going to be on television.” Swap “streaming” for “television” and suddenly it definitely seems like we’re living in Speilberg’s vision of the film industry future.

Movie ticket prices are, admittedly, a nebulous realm of gray across regions. Any movie lover who has traveled knows that a ticket for the same movie in a market like NYC or LA is going to cost a significant amount more than a ticket from a theater in a smaller town or city market – with no clear added amount of service or experience for the higher ticket price. In that sense, it does feel like the upcharging practice could get similarly… turbulent for consumers who are wondering what the increase in price is getting them.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now in theaters.