We've Got Hollywood Covered

Feed the Kids for a Week, or Take Them to the Movies?

That’s the dilemma a typical four-member family will face as ticket prices climb for 3D movies

Higher movie prices!

Are you pulling my wallet chain?

The gull of announcing a price hike on the heels of two blockbuster 3D movies, "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland," feels like date rape – nonconsensual abuse of one of the last "affordable" forms of entertainment.

According to reports, some theater chains will be raising ticket prices as soon as Friday, in time for the opening of "How to Train Your Dragon," which is expected to be a popular film.

The price increase for a 2D movie could be marginal — about 5% — but for the new lot of 3D IMAX films attracting agreeable paying customers, a ticket may well cost as much as $20!

I checked a couple of online cinema ticket outlets and found admission in San Diego for "Alice" in 3D was $15 for an adult and $11.50 for a child at Fandango.com (I could not determine if the service fee was included unless I completed this transaction), and $14.50 and $11.50, respectively, at MovieTickets.com (+ $1 service fee).

Why is the movie industry bent on ravaging our pocketbooks?

Upgrading theaters to 3D technology is expensive — I get it. But, why expect us little people to keep shoring up the cost of Hollywood’s technological advances? Can’t you take out loans, issue bonds or ask James Cameron or Tim Burton to spot you $20 … million?

The math is simple for household budgets, and will surely require a second dip into already slim wallets. Going to a movie may possibly cost between $70 and $80 for a two-hour visual extravaganza for a four-member family.

According to varied data available around the web, the outlay of going to see a film will be approximately equal to the cost of a week’s worth of groceries, which has remained around $100 per week for the standard four-member unit.

On CBS’ "The Early Show," Catey Hill, money editor of NYDailyNews.com, suggested a few ways we can avoid the movie-price gauge:

– Start looking for discount coupons.

– Purchase an Entertainment Book.

– Buy bulk tickets at Costco or Sam’s Club.

– Go on free family movie night or matinees.

– Join programs that reward frequent moviegoers.

– Don’t purchase tickets online to avoid the fees. (Buh-bye, Fandango!)

Hill even went so far as to suggest you "bring your own snacks." to the theater. Will we not get kicked out like delinquents anymore?

Obviously she hasn’t been to a movie theater lately. If the movie-food police hear the wrapper coming off your Wetzel’s Pretzel, you’ll be out of there faster than it takes to hand over $20 for a movie ticket!

Thinking and planning ahead for the two hours of mindless celluloid escapism could save you a few bucks and spare you from the reality of buyer’s remorse after indulging yourself and your family on what used to be the most affordable form of family entertainment.

Here’s another food-for-thought morsel: If you’re in the habit of spontaneously dropping your kids off at the movies while you shop at the local mall, think again.

By the time you’re done paying for two 3D tickets, one large popcorn and two Slurpees for two kids, that $50 could have bought them a videogame to play at home … over and over and over.

Suzette Valle was recognized by Time Warner Cable as one of San Diego's Best Moms. She is the author of "101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up" (Walter FosterJr. Fall 2015), a reference book for kids. She has appeared on the "Dr. Phil" show discussing the effects of reality shows on families. Her posts have been featured on Fox,YahooMovies.com, and Movies.MSN.com. A mother of two, she lives in San Diego with her husband. She blogs about parenting and Hollywood's influence on children's daily lives and family values at www.MamarazziKnowsBest.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SuzetteValle.