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Over 94% of Japanese people in survey find movie theater prices too expensive

By Katie Pask, SoraNews24

When was the last time you went to the movie theater? If you live in Japan, chances are you haven’t been in a while, according to the results from a recent survey.

Japanese news media company VOIX asked 500 men and women “How often do you go to the movie theater?” The most common response was “Once a year,” by 33.4 percent of responders. The rest of the poll results were “Rarely” at 26.2 percent, “Once every four to six months” (15.8 percent), “Once every two to three months” (15.4 percent). “More than once a month” rounded off the results with just 9.2 percent of responders giving it as their answer.

There could be a number of reasons for these responses; the coronavirus pandemic definitely made seeing movies on the big screen impossible for a while, and some people might even argue that the quality of Japanese film is a reason they avoid heading to the cinema.

But another question asked to the responders by VOIX may give a clearer picture as to why people aren’t visiting the movie theater as much these days. When asked “What are your thoughts on movie ticket prices?“, an overwhelmingly high proportion of responders answered that they were expensive. 43 percent of responses were “expensive” and 51.6 percent “somewhat expensive”, which combined means 94.6 percent of those asked believe that it’s pretty pricey to go to the movies.

A standard movie ticket in Japan usually costs around 1,800 yen, although many movie theaters offer discounts for students, the elderly and cheaper tickets on the first day of every month. 68.4 percent of those surveyed commented that they use such discounts.

Japanese neitzens were in agreement with the survey’s findings, giving their own reasons why they don’t go to the movie theater often.

“I don’t even go once a year these days, lol.”

“I can’t stand watching movies in a room full of strangers.”

“For the price of a single movie ticket, I can get several months of Amazon Prime, and all movies end up on a streaming service sooner or later. I’d want to see something like 'Avatar' at the movie theater though.”

“As long as there are other people kicking chairs and playing with their phones, I won’t go.”

How do Japanese cinema prices compare to where you are from? And are Japan’s pricey tickets stopping you from seeing the latest blockbusters? With the meteoric rise of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, it’s certainly cheaper to watch movies from the comfort of your own home, but there’s nothing quite like a huge screen in a dark room with a tub of popcorn.

Source: Maido na News via Livedoor News via Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Uber Eats delivers movie theater popcorn at certain Tokyo and Chiba locations

-- Japanese manners: Majority say “Loud laughing during a movie is rude” in survey

-- Survey shows that many Japanese business people’s sleep patterns have changed since teleworking

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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It's been 1800 yen since the late 80s when it was only about 5-6 US dollars at the time so it felt astronomical then.

Now the prices aren't that far apart so the yen price doesn't seem as extreme, but overall, yes, I agree it's still way too high.

I've always felt that 1000 yen would be ideal to get me into a theater a lot more.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

This truly shows how much Japan has fallen.

I remember when I first went to Japan in early 1990 every big movie was sold out and there were people standing ii the aisles leaning against the walls and sitting on the steps to watch films.

Of course we have loads more choice nowadays about where and when to watch films,but also back then people had far more disposable income than they do today.

In fact it's mind-blowing to think that something that was acceptable 32 years ago is far too expensive in 2022.

The standard admittance fee then as now was ¥1,800.

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

Not ONLY the high prices, but the lack of options as well.

Japan seems to love to bring in the “famous” movies, not necessarily the “fun” movies. Definitely not much comedy from the States.

There was a period when it they were just basically showing Pirates and Marvel. Come on now.

I guess it’s better than the endless Anime domination.

And don’t get me started on the lack of artificial butter flavoring on the popcorn. What kind of choice is salt or caramel?


5 ( +9 / -4 )

Might have something to do with the fact that since the 90's wages have basically remained stagnant and in some fields have even regressed.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

As far as cinema quality goes, the tickets are better value than they were 25 years ago. At that time the only decent cinema I remember in the greater Osaka area was the one on Rokko Island. The rest were cramped dives with barely enough legroom for a toddler and prehistoric sound systems. Not to mention the smoking sections some still had.

1,800 yen was a total rip-off. In the meantime quality has improved while the price has remained stagnant. And the price compared favourably with what people pay in Australia these days for a similar experience, roughly $A20-25 (1,900-2400 yen), so it's not all bad.

I guess the problem for Japanese is that their living standards haven't risen much and they have less disposable income, so that same 1,800 feels like a bigger hit than it would have 25 years ago.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Enjoy while it lasts - its just a matter of time IOT will take over and cinema - as we know it - will become extinct.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Speed is correct, prices in Japan haven't gone up in thirty years. They used to be extortionate compared to the UK/US, but those countries have since caught up.

I'm sure the first time I went to the cinema in Japan, it was so packed that there were people sitting in the aisles, referred to as "tachi-mi". No-one cared about the fire risk. I also remember being taken to see "Ghost", thinking it was really corny, and then re-emerging to a foyer full of women in bits crying their eyes out. It was a real culture shock moment!

My kids still like to go, maybe its the popcorn buckets, but I'm not bothered. The only film I've seen in the past ten years was the new Blade Runner. I like movies but we have a 65" tv and a 78" white projector wall at home.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Cinemas in Japan are not only overpriced but movies come out atrociously late there unless it's a popular blockbuster. I remember seeing a poster for a movie being shown at a cinema in Tokyo that came out over a year ago. Who wants to pay to go see a movie that's already out on DVD or a streaming platform? Cinema etiquette is also mighty weird in Japan - people wait until the credits finish rolling before getting out of their seats and the lights don't come on until after the credits. Why? Do they not have anywhere else to be?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

You can't pay me enough to watch a japanese movie in the theater

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I forgot than teaters even existed anymore as I live on the internet where everything is accessible.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Not only movies in theater quality has not improved, outside 3dx real experience (but then ticket price is rather twice the price discussed), but also the atmosphere has vanished from where it was a place to enjoy.

Meanwhile I got a VR set and experience is way higher, at my demand, for either free or a price less than 1000¥.

I wish new movies would also first be published inside VR. Everything is better and you could enjoy your friends you rarely meet without annoying others or be annoyed.

Movies have been surpassed by some series anyway.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nothing to see anyway. I remember going to StartWars, Jaws, Towering Inferno, All the Sellers Pink Panthers, Young Frankenstein , Posidien Adventure, Platoon, The Thin Red Line, Dances With Wolves, all the Lord of The Rings…

Theres just nothing worth to see anymore IMO, in Japan anyway.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Expensive and boring, currently there are other sources of entertainment that are more interesting and cheaper..

This truly shows how much Japan has fallen.

Things have changed a lot, cinema is no longer an attraction for many, it's not that the country has fallen, customs change, leave your drama for the soap opera.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Algernon … And the price compared favourably with what people pay in Australia these days for a similar experience, roughly $A20-25 (1,900-2400 yen), so it's not all bad.

What are you talking about? You can watch movies in Australia for $15 ( 1,400¥ ) at Hoyts nationwide. The price is even as low as $8 ( 750¥ ) through discounted tickets from many ways ( some as easy as just having an account with Westpac Bank )! You mentioned similar experience and this is just not true because the reclining seats, level heights, partition between each row at Hoyts is a way better than the seats in Japan cinemas! Clearly you haven’t been to a cinema in Australia recently!

Don’t believe be then check out the ticket prices in Hoyts website and also photos of their seats and comfort level!


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Relax, JIm. You can get discount tickets here in Japan, too, and there are some high-quality cinemas in new shopping centres and the like, just not as many in Australia. But the standard, pre-discount prices in Australia are still high, especially in regional areas where there's only once cinema complex and no competition. I haven't been home in nearly 4 years, so I'm not up with the latest going-on at cinemas to be sure.

In any case, when comparing the increase in comfort level and experience between Japan and Australia over the last two decades or so, Japan has improved by a much greater margin because Aussies cinemas were already pretty decent back then.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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