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Should movie tickets be priced on a sliding scale?

An empty movie theater
An empty movie theater
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Steven Speilberg isn’t too optimistic about the future of the film industry. At least he wasn’t last month when he predicted a Hollywood implosion—mega-budget films failing to bring in the expected audience. Last year researchers noted that 99 percent of theater seats go unfilled Monday through Thursday.

In the interest of preventing an implosion of the film industry, some have suggested using variable pricing for movie tickets—charging more for movies that are more popular and less for those that already aren’t expected to make much at the box office. That would be good for consumers, but theater owners and studios worry about the negative perceptions charging less for certain films would have for those movies.

Is variable pricing for movies a good idea? Would you be willing to see a bad movie because the ticket costs less?

Peter Rainer, film critic for KPCC and the Christian Science Monitor