How Movie Theaters Make Money

How Movie Theaters Make Money

If you are wondering how movie theaters make money, read on. In this article, we will discuss ticket sales, concessions, and onscreen advertising. Ticket sales make up a large part of how movie theaters make money. Onscreen advertising makes up a smaller portion of the revenue, but still plays a major role. Ticket sales help the theaters cover their basic expenses each week. While movie theaters can earn a considerable profit from a single movie, the average four-week engagement costs the theater around $25,000 per week.


How movie theaters make money with exhibitors depends on several factors. The most common are ticket sales and concession sales. Performing well films generate higher ticket prices, which means the theaters can make a lot of money from one film. Films that do poorly, however, do not produce much income for the theaters. To calculate the percentage that each studio gets from the screening of a film, check the studio’s securities filings.

While ticket sales make up the bulk of a movie theater’s revenue, concessions and advertising are also significant contributors. Many theaters have dropped pre-show advertising, which makes it possible to make up the difference by raising ticket prices by $1. Other theaters have also made changes to their programming. For example, many Landmark Cinemas and ArcLight Cinemas have cut advertising during pre-shows, which can be a great way to increase revenue.

Initially, the theater industry relied on a system called states’ rights. In this system, distributors sold distribution rights to exhibitors by state and territory, with each exhibitor contracting with a specific rights owner. This model allowed early exhibitors considerable latitude in booking films of special interest to local audiences. While it may seem like a complicated process, it is one of the most common and profitable ways for movie theaters to earn money.

The split between the cinemas and their distributors is not equal, but it is close. The biggest movies often claim more than 50 percent of the income. They are almost always from the major studio and earn over 50% of their revenue during their first few weeks. This is considered a good deal and can be seen in some recent major releases. However, the majority of movies do not produce this much money. The split is usually 50-50 between the distributor and the exhibitor.

As the COVID-19 restrictions begin to loosen, movie theaters should look for ways to make money with their exhibitors. While movie tickets are still expensive, there are a few ways to keep the costs down. Many theaters offer different price levels for the same film, including those for children. Depending on the type of movie, AMC theaters could also offer food and dining options or even theater rooms equipped with play areas for children. In any case, executives will assess the markets and gauge how studios react to changes in the market.

Ticket sales

The most important way movie theaters make money is by screening new releases. While ticket sales account for the bulk of theater income, they also sell concessions to the audience. Popular films generate huge ticket sales, but not every movie is a hit. That said, movie theaters can’t do much about mediocre films. Instead, they look for ways to maximize their revenue and profits. Here’s how they make money.

Most of the revenue from tickets goes to the film studio. After the theaters pay their production costs, they share a percentage of the ticket sales with the film distributor. The theaters keep the remaining 40%. Most movie theaters use these profits to pay for employee salaries, rent, and maintenance. A few theaters even offer family deals to attract customers. However, these deals can only work if theaters can make money at a high margin.

In addition to ticket sales, theaters make money through concessions. While concessions are cheaper than movie tickets, they carry a high markup. Usually, movie theaters charge different prices for popcorn and other snacks. However, this does not mean that theaters can’t make money off of these sales. The bottom line is that movie theaters need to make a profit. The profits from concessions help them achieve that goal.

Another way movie theaters make money is through advertising. Many movie theaters advertise their movies on their walls and encourage moviegoers to buy snacks. The theaters then advertise these snacks on their screens. The concession stand is the theater’s main source of income. Movies aren’t free, and theaters inflate popcorn prices by up to 1275 percent. Moreover, seventy percent of moviegoers buy food while watching a movie.

Ticket sales are how movie theaters make their money. A typical movie tickets cost $1 or $5. Some theaters offered free admission for children. These days, most ticket prices are $8 to $20, with new releases fetching higher prices. In some cases, movie theaters offer reduced prices during slow periods. They also give away a portion of the profits from concessions. It’s not a bad idea to take advantage of concessions.


You may wonder how movie theaters make money. They make their money from concessions. Typically, these sales are 100 percent markup. As a result, movie prices can affect the price of concessions. In other words, a higher price on concessions doesn’t necessarily mean higher profits. But increasing prices for concessions can help theaters earn more money. This is a good option for theaters that want to increase revenue while keeping patrons happy.

The profit margin for concessions is huge. Most moviegoers accept the price of concessions. Some even bring their own food into the theater. Concessions are a great way to avoid paying high prices for tickets. Therefore, the concessions stand is crucial for movie theaters to succeed. In fact, without these sales, many would fail to make a profit. Therefore, it is important to know how movie theaters make money by selling concessions.

In the first three weeks of a movie, the gross percentage is higher than the net one. The gross percentage would be taken by the distributor, while the net percentage would go to the theater. Thus, the first three weeks of a movie are profitable for a theater, while the second and fourth weeks are losses. The profits generated by concessions are about 70 to 80 percent of the total revenue of a movie theater. This means that the theater can keep a higher percentage of the concessions revenue.

Most movie theaters earn a considerable portion of their revenue through concessions. According to AMC, over 71% of their attendees spend money on concessions. Additionally, concessions pay for employee salaries, rent, cleaning, and maintenance. They are, therefore, an essential part of a movie theater. That is why, when you’re in a movie theater, you may see concessions on the screen.

But not all of those concessions are a good idea. Movie theaters need both types of revenue to be successful. While concession sales don’t make up the majority of their income, the overall revenue from concessions is huge. For example, if a movie theater doesn’t sell concessions, moviegoers would spend more money on food and drinks. This can make a big difference in profits.

Onscreen advertising

Onscreen advertising is one way that movie theaters make money. It costs about $1,000-$2,000 per cinema screen for a 15-second advertisement. For 60-second ads, the cost is about $4,000 or more. Although it may seem like an “out-of-the-box” way to advertise, movie theaters have found ways to make it work. Listed below are some examples of how they make money through onscreen advertising.

On-screen advertising is becoming increasingly popular as television ads lose their effectiveness. With the introduction of TiVo and digital video recorders, people are more likely to skip over television ads. According to the Cinema Advertising Council, a two-year-old trade association, movie theaters will report a 20 percent increase in onscreen advertising revenues this year and an additional 41 percent in offscreen promotions. While these numbers are impressive, moviegoers may still not like the advertisements onscreen.

Movie theaters earn a significant portion of their revenue from concessions, but ticket sales make up a larger portion of their income. As a result, companies like Landmark Cinemas and ArcLight are cutting their pre-show advertising. If they do not cut their advertising budgets, they can make up for lost revenue by raising ticket prices. This is a great way to increase revenue at a movie theater.

Movie theaters get their revenue from concessions, onscreen advertising, and video games. Unlike other businesses, movie theaters don’t rely on begging for money. Their profits come from three major sources: ticket sales, onscreen advertising, and concessions. While concessions are an important source of income for theaters, they also lose a portion of the concessions revenue to operating costs. So, the movie theater business model needs to change.

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