Toronto Film Festival Prices Soar on Reseller Sites With ‘Dumb Money’ Screening Going for $900 (Updated)

Gouging, long the scourge of the music industry, finds a footing in indie cinema

TIFF Toronto International Film Festival 2022
Photo by Connie Tsang/Courtesy of TIFF

Scalpers are gouging buyers for the Toronto International Film Festival tickets — with screening prices rising by the minute, according to a review of online prices Tuesday.

On Monday, some of the premiere films were sold out on Ticketmaster, with scalpers demanding 10 times face value for some tickets online — a bargain compared to the latest prices.

By Tuesday, tickets for Hayao Miyazaki’s film “The Boy and the Heron” had topped $527 — more than a $200 increase. Meanwhile, tickets for “Dumb Money” were going for nearly $900.

Writer and filmmaker Siddhant Adlakha put a spotlight on the gouging, calling it “genuinely insane.”

“Ticketmaster is a scourge and using it as an official ticketing platform for a film festival is incredibly bizarre. It’s genuinely insane that people are allowed to buy and re-sell TIFF tickets pretty much the day they go on sale. The new Miyazaki (film) is going for over $300 US.” Adlakha wrote.

Adlakha wasn’t alone in his sentiments.

But not all films were going for more than $500. Tickets for the film “Les Indesirables” was going for a more desirable price of $108 on Tuesday.

Scalping at hugely inflated prices has been an ongoing issue with the conglomerate Ticketmaster, which has been under scrutiny by Congress and the U.S. Justice Dept. (A representative for the company did not return calls. A spokesperson for TIFF also could not be reached for comment.)

While scalping mostly impacts concerts, film editor Amy Duddleston noted that the scourge has spread from the concert and sports industries to events like TIFF.

Ticketmaster and its parent company, concert behemoth Live Nation Entertainment, have come under fire in recent years for making it way too easy for scalpers to gobble up tickets then gouge fans trying to see a show.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in January to focus on prices, ticket scalping and digital ticket technology, and specifically detailed the ticket fiasco for Taylor Swift’s tour last year.

Testifying before the committee in January, Joe Berchtold, president and chief financial officer for Live Nation, told the committee that he believes the concert industry now “is more competitive than ever.”

Members of the committee were not convinced by Berchtold, and several senators said more regulation might be needed to combat scalping and protect ticket buyers.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called for the January hearing, in which she said Congress should act if Ticketmaster can’t protect consumers from scalping.

“We are committed to doing something, and not just throwing popcorn,” Klobuchar said in January.

The Justice Dept. approved the 2010 Live Nation merger with Ticketmaster under a “consent decree,” which it extended to 2025. The Justice Deptartment and the Senate are investigating whether the company has violated anti-monopoly terms of the decree.

Committee Chairman Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said in the January hearing that the consent decree “does not appear to have been effective” in protecting consumers.

A previous version of this report incorrectly stated that $900 tickets to “Dumb Money” were being sold on the Ticketmaster website. TheWrap regrets the error.