The Price of Going out to the Movies — the History and the Contemporaneousness

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The price of the theater admission is viewed as one of the factors for the massness of cinema. With the use of statistical materials, the dynamics of the massness is surveyed for the past 50 years. In the USSR the practice of forming the admission prices was determined by the focus of the state on providing for the broadest massness of cinema and its economic accessibility for all of the population. Despite the decline of the attendance of many years, the selected course was staid on. Over the 18 years of waning admissions (1968–1986), the average price of the cinema ticket increased for less than 3 kopeks (27.09 kop. as compared to 24.46 kop.). The societal changes and the steering of the course toward the market in the late 1980s created an impetus for the drastic growth of the price for going out to the movies. In the 1990s this trend surged sharply under the impact of two economic process: the precipitous drop in the incomes of the main populace and the no less dramatic increase in the price of the cinema ticket. The population became divided into two categories — those solvent for cinema attendance (mostly the relatively scarce and precarious middle class) and those insolvent. From the yesteryear factor of cinema’s broadest massness the ticket price was transformed into a factor of the former’s demassization. As a contribution to it, also came the profound restructuring of the theatrical repertory and the radical dismantling of communicative conventions between the cinematography and its spectators the most evident in the escalation of entertainment violence in films. Materials of three sociological surveys of spectators are used as the basis for an analysis of their estimating the price of the cinema ticket in the past three decades, the effects of its increase on cinema attendance. The issue of the «fair» ticket price is put in some perspective. Accentuated is the importance of rational price formation as a factor of reproducing the cinema audience.

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Zhabskiy Mikhail

Doctor at Sociology, VGIK, Leading Researcher, Research Sector,
FGBOU DPO ‘‘Academy of Media Industry’’

Research sector of the FSBEI DPO "Academy of Media Industry"
, 105 Oktyabrskaya str., bldg. 2, Academy of Media Industry (IPK of TV and RV Employees), Moscow, 127521, Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.

Tarasov Kirill A

Doctor of Culturology, Professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Moscow State Institute of International Relations
Russian Federation, 76 Vernadsky Avenue, Moscow, 119454



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Copyright (c) 2021 Zhabskiy M., Tarasov K.A.

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