How Much Are Movie Tickets Around The World?

Cultural perceptions of films and national economic structures are driving forces for the high average movie ticket prices seen in countries like Japan and and Bahrain.
Cultural perceptions of films and national economic structures are driving forces for the high average movie ticket prices seen in countries like Japan and and Bahrain.

Even with all the options available today through TV programming and internet streaming, there’s nothing quite like seeing a film as part of a public audience in a darkened theatre, with or without 3-D glasses and state-of-the-art surround sound. Whether it’s the latest Star Wars flick, a scary monster movie, a fanciful adventure, or an intimate drama, the pleasure will likely be there if you are there watching. Indeed, just there’s something about staring up at a larger than life image on a silver screen that has kept audiences coming back to cinema through the years and around the world. While good movies are made and shown just about everywhere, how much viewers have to pay for the experience of seeing a film depends on where they live in the world.

The World's Priciest Ticket Prices

The two most expensive countries in which to see the latest releases are the Arab island nation of Bahrain (with an average ticket price of $17.48 USD) and the mountainous nation of Switzerland (which comes in at $16.80 per admission). It’s interesting to note that both of these countries aren’t known for having significant domestic film industries. In 2009, for example, in the entire country of Bahrain there were only 44 screens. In terms of Swiss productions, it’s interesting to note that in 2011 there were only 84 films made in the country. Of course, these countries also have fairly high per capita incomes that somewhat mitigate such high prices.

Scandalous Prices in Scandinavia

Other countries with expensive ticket prices include the northern European nations of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. All four of these countries are known for their cold temperatures and natural beauty. Scandinavian culture is regarded as stressing an active lifestyle and placing a great deal of value on sports and outdoor activities. Perhaps this mentality translates into a way of life that’s the antithesis of the popular ‘couch potato’ stereotype bestowed on Americans. All of these nations also have socialist governments, which in turn translate into higher tax rates, and the box office is no exception. Indeed, the sales taxes in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark stand at around a whopping 25%.

North America's Prominence

Because Hollywood plays such a dominant role in the global cinematic landscape, it’s not surprising that North American movie ticket prices lie on the lower end of the international movie ticket price spectrum. Even though Canada has its own film industry, most theatres in the US and Canada alike typically feature American-made entertainment. Going to see a film in your local American or Canadian theatre will set you back just over $8. Hollywood and its star- and starlet-dominated demography play a pivotal role in domestic pop culture in both countries. American cinema is not only a source of significant box office revenues for the economy, but it also employs a large labor force. It is also the driving force behind numerous spin-off industries involving a far reaching array of movie-related merchandise.

The Film Industry in Asia

China produces the second most film releases worldwide, while Japan comes in at number three. Japan has a long and storied history in terms of filmmaking and is well respected for its cinematic artistry, boasting four Oscar wins for Best Foreign Film. However, Japanese movie ticket prices are known for being far more expensive, with an average price tag of $12.77. This may also be due to cultural factors such as cinema being perceived as more of a luxury expense for the Japanese populace.

The Most Expensive Movie Ticket Prices Around The World

RankCountryAverage Film Ticket Price (USD)
9United Arab Emirates$11.27
11United Kingdom$10.90
16New Zealand$9.91
26Hong Kong$8.41
27United States$8.13

More in Travel