Japanese cinema ticket prices go up for first time in 26 years

The price of a standard ticket in Japanese cinemas is going up for the first time in over a quarter of a century.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, the general admission ticket price was raised on 1 June from 1,800 yen to ¥1,900 (£13.85 or $17.50), the first increase in 26 years.

The multiplex chain Toho was the first to announce the increase in March, citing factors including building costs for new cinemas, the expense of installing 4D and Imax technology, and “anti-earthquake measures”. Another major chain, Tokyu Recreation, said it would follow suit. However, two of the largest chains, Aeon and United, said they would not change their prices.

The ¥1,800 ticket was settled on in 1993, as multiplexes began to proliferate in Japan, and was seen as a way to make up for declining audiences that were being lost to TV. The consequent climb in audience numbers – reaching 169.2m in 2018, from a low of 119.6m in 1996 – gave exhibitors little motivation to raise the ticket price.

Moreover, a complex system of discounts means that the full ticket price is rarely paid, with the average ticket in 2008 costing around ¥1,200, rising to around ¥1,300 in 2017.

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