Cineplex $1.50 booking fee to add most online ticket purchases




David Friend, The Canadian Press



Published Tuesday, June 21, 2022 1:14PM EDT





Last Updated Tuesday, June 21, 2022 1:14PM EDT

TORONTO – Moviegoers could be paying a little extra for a seat at a Cineplex theater this summer.

Canada’s largest film exhibitor says it has introduced a new $1.50 booking fee that applies to each ticket purchased through its mobile app and website.

The move comes as Cineplex representative Sarah Van Lange says the company looks to “further invest and evolve our digital infrastructure,” including website upgrades.

However, not everyone will have to pay the new service charge.

Cineplex Inc. says purchases made in-person at the box office, ticket kiosks, or concession stands will not be subject to the fee, while members of the Scene Plus rewards program will pay a $1 reduced per ticket.

Members of CineClub, the company’s monthly subscription program, will have the fee waived.

Service charges are a long-standing practice in the entertainment industry where concerts, live theater and sporting events all add some form of a “convenience fee” to collect more revenue.

When Cineplex first introduced online ticket sales years ago, it charged a similar processing fee for each ticket. Eventually it eliminated the charge around the same time it began encouraging moviegoers to buy tickets in advance instead of waiting in line at the box office.

More recently, Cineplex has dabbled in other upcharge experiments that included charging an extra $2 for “prime seats” at a few of its busier theatres. It also tacked on an extra $1 to reserve seats at showings of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” in 2017.

In the United States, most of the largest theater chains already charge a fee for online ticket purchases.

Earlier this year US chain AMC Theaters went a step further when it began testing “variable pricing” for tickets to the anticipated DC Comics movie “The Batman.” The new cost added around US$1.50 to each ticket in some cities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2022.

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