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Movie price war escalates: Tickets now $3

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POSTED April 9, 2009 5:17 a.m.
Hollywood productions such as “Driving Miss Daisy”, “Ghostbusters II”, and “Back to the Future II” were packing them in at movie houses the last time ticket prices were $3.

That was back in 1989.

The Manteca Marketplace Stadium 10 Cinemas is coming out with its own sequel to “Back to the Future” with a new price busting strategy - $3 any time to see a flick at the just upgraded 10-year-old complex at 1321 W. Yosemite Ave.

“We’re doing it to compete for business in this economy,” said owner Dan Tocchini of the new pricing. “And that’s with a theater that has all new rocking chair loge seating and all stadium seating.”

The last time tickets were that low in this area for any movie theater  was back in the early 1990s at the discount cinema at the Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto that was torn down and then replaced by Circuit City. The big difference, though, is Manteca Marketplace is a second-run movie house. You won’t see new release typically for two weeks or so after their release – as opposed to the old Modesto venue’s “third-run” status where movies had been out for months prior to making it to their screens plus it has the latest seating to boot.

Tocchini believes there is definitely a market for people who don’t mind waiting two week s or so to see a new release if they can do so at a $3 price for a complete movie house experience.

“We think there are people out there who will wait two weeks and pay $3 instead of $10 to see a movie,” Tocchini said.

It’s not just the movies that are $3. Popcorn is $3. Sodas are $3. Hot dogs are $3. As an added bonus during their reopening you can get all four – admission, popcorn, soda, and hot dog – for $10 day or night, weekday or weekend.

“It’s always $3,” Tocchini said.

The $3 charge is the latest volley in the battle for cinema business that started shortly after the 16-screen Kerasotes Showplace opened with free movies for a week in November in the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley.

The Stadium Cinema 10 responded by cutting its adult admission by a dollar meaning it cost $8 for an adult to see a movie there compared to $10 at the Kerasotes ShowPlace.

They also cut the price of kids and seniors tickets until 6 p.m. to $5.50 reducing the price 50 cents. That was a $2 savings compared to a senior ticket at Kerasotes.

Now they’ve done away with senior discounts and reduced rates for matinees and gone with the all-day and all-night $3 admission.

That means three people can see a movie at the Marketplace for less than one adult admission at the ShowPlace.  And while $20 at ShowPlace just buys you two adult tickets, at the Marketplace you get two adult tickets, two popcorns and two sodas and still have $2 in change.

Kerasotes ShowPlace offers a Five Buck Club where members can see a particular film that’s played after a number of weeks - usually two – for $5. The movies and show times to see $5 flicks changes each week.
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