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Economic Indicator - Price of Theater Tickets?
Old 10-13-2018, 08:41 AM   #1
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Economic Indicator - Price of Theater Tickets?

I don't know what this means, but the price of theater tickets seems to have dropped dramatically this past week in our area. We like to see plays, and I look for deals, but this past week the number of half price and comp tickets offers from my various lists has shot up noticeably.

It could be that I have just improved my searching over time or that it is the start of the theater season, but I think there is something more to it. People cutting back on discretionary spending? Reaction to the stock market activity this past week? Home sales are slowing down for the first time in a long time as well, which seems long overdue.

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-13-2018, 09:22 AM   #2
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I think you need a LOT more data before you try to assign any meaning to that.

more examples here:

Spurious Correlations

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Old 10-13-2018, 09:23 AM   #3
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My totally un-scientific observation is that market actions, employment/unemployment has little to do with how regular people spend money.

Home prices, ok, that's a good indicator but I haven't really seen folks cut back on anything else based on the overall economy or any other factor.

It might be location specific but even during the Jan-Feb 2009 doldrums (now there's a good word for it!) every restaurant, shop, mall and theater around here was as packed as it was the previous year. No job? No worries! That's what Visa is for!
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Old 10-13-2018, 09:44 AM   #4
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I don't know about theater ticket prices plunging, but airline fares have been plunging over the last few months and so have hotel room prices. We have people visiting us in Florida this December from Europe, and they told us that they bought tickets from Geneva to Miami for $532 return. Late December is peak season for Florida. New cars are also being sold a large discount these days and we live in one of the largest auto markets in the world (Los Angeles County). Restaurants are quite empty these days and many are offering deals to draw people in. Even the Costco we shop at has less and less traffic. We don't mind, it just increases our spending power and waiting times.
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Old 10-13-2018, 10:04 AM   #5
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I prefer data to anecdotes:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/25/cons...september.html

Quote:
Consumer confidence hits 138.4 in September, vs. 132 estimate

September's index print is near the all-time high of 144.7 reached in 2000, the Conference Board said Tuesday.


"These historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending, and should be welcome news for retailers as they begin gearing up for the holiday season," says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board
It's hard for me to believe that people who set theater ticket prices would act immediately to a few down days in the stock market. Maybe someone on this forum is/was in that business, and could comment.


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Old 10-13-2018, 10:19 AM   #6
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Looking at today's Chicago Tribune, there was an article about haunted houses in the area. This one for Six Flags brought up ticket prices... as shown:

https://www.sixflags.com/greatameric...ord=ffcalendar

Reduced price ticket is $46.79.

Just imagine the total cost for a family of four. Those prices, do not include parking, food, $35 Haunted house wristbands or "line skipping" costs... $50.

A far cry from when I was a kid, and five or six families in our neighborhood provided for free, their own version of haunted houses... usually in the basement.

So:
Travel to event $15
Tickets $187
Parking $25
Wrist bands $140
Line skip $50 (for all four)
Small meal $40

$457 for an afternoon at a spook show.

Yeah... that's scary!
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Old 10-13-2018, 10:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Looking at today's Chicago Tribune, there was an article about haunted houses in the area. This one for Six Flags brought up ticket prices... as shown:

https://www.sixflags.com/greatameric...ord=ffcalendar

Reduced price ticket is $46.79.

Just imagine the total cost for a family of four. Those prices, do not include parking, food, $35 Haunted house wristbands or "line skipping" costs... $50.

A far cry from when I was a kid, and five or six families in our neighborhood provided for free, their own version of haunted houses... usually in the basement.
At $46.79 it's a bargain. We have been going to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror nights for the past 20 years. It's a total blast.

https://hhntickets.universalstudiosh...seTickets.aspx

This year general admission is $75 to $104 per person plus parking and food charges. We buy the VIP express tickets (no waiting in line) an those are $179 to $239 each this year plus parking and food. Last year we took friends from Singapore who were visiting us to this event. They said they never had so much fun in their entire lives.

Yes it would be expensive for a large family to go. But so would going to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and other theme parks. You can't compare the theme parks today with what was available 30 to 40 years ago. They are a totally different experience.
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Old 10-13-2018, 11:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Freedom56 View Post
At $46.79 it's a bargain. We have been going to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror nights for the past 20 years. It's a total blast.

https://hhntickets.universalstudiosh...seTickets.aspx

This year general admission is $75 to $104 per person plus parking and food charges. We buy the VIP express tickets (no waiting in line) an those are $179 to $239 each this year plus parking and food. Last year we took friends from Singapore who were visiting us to this event. They said they never had so much fun in their entire lives.

Yes it would be expensive for a large family to go. But so would going to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and other theme parks. You can't compare the theme parks today with what was available 30 to 40 years ago. They are a totally different experience.
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Old 10-13-2018, 11:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
...
$457 for an afternoon at a spook show.

Yeah... that's scary!
Wow, people are blowing dough. Not just retirees with more money than time left, but working families too. Wow.

Somehow, I don't think this is going to last.

PS. We do not like to be at crowded events, let alone having to pay this much. I guess we are boring people.
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:01 PM   #10
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One of my kid has season ticket to Disneyland, the real expensive one. Her rationale is it’s part of the weight loss program she’s ascribed to, she parks and walks, no trams, plus no buying of any food when she gets there. In return for this she discontinued Cable TV. She gets Neflix for free from her sister. Less idle time, more movement.
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:06 PM   #11
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Wow, I am shocked at the prices for haunted houses for families. We took our kids to the pumpkin farm which was free except for what you bought and then trick or treating on Halloween. Our restaurants here are generally busy.
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Old 10-13-2018, 01:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Wow, people are blowing dough. Not just retirees with more money than time left, but working families too. Wow.

Somehow, I don't think this is going to last.

PS. We do not like to be at crowded events, let alone having to pay this much. I guess we are boring people.
Well, then we are boring people, too. We don't like to go to this sort of thing either. I have never in my life (that I recall?) actually PAID to go to a spook show, or play, or opera although I used to frequently attend free performances of this type put on by students at local universities all the time years ago. I don't recall having paid to even go to a concert since the 60's. Prices went through the roof and I drew a line in the sand.

We used to pay for an occasional movie but even stopped doing that 5-10 years ago because the volume hurts my ears, the theaters are filthy, and the other patron are rude and loud and often openly doing drugs right there in the theaters, a practice that we find to be somewhat disgusting. We'd rather watch a movie a few years later in the comfort of our homes, on Netflix or by other streaming services, than go through all that.

IMO the big trick to effectively Blowing that Dough, is to blow it on things/experiences that add value to our lives. I don't think paying for these "experiences" would add anything to ours.

As for the drop in prices that was the topic of this thread, I think ERD50 hit the nail on the head. Demonstrating cause and effect requires much more evidence than we obtain by noticing simultaneous trends or correlations.
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Old 10-13-2018, 01:20 PM   #13
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I was a movie buff in my early years, now I don’t even go to movie theater, not even the dollar theatre. I prefer to rent from Redbox. Our home theatre is far more superior including breaks for restroom.
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Old 10-13-2018, 03:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by marko View Post
My totally un-scientific observation is that market actions, employment/unemployment has little to do with how regular people spend money.

Home prices, ok, that's a good indicator but I haven't really seen folks cut back on anything else based on the overall economy or any other factor.

It might be location specific but even during the Jan-Feb 2009 doldrums (now there's a good word for it!) every restaurant, shop, mall and theater around here was as packed as it was the previous year. No job? No worries! That's what Visa is for!
We do not go shopping often, so did not know how it was during the Great Recession. But as we took our walk around the neighborhood, observed that there were fewer Christmas decorations during that time. Then, as the economy recovered, the better mood was definitely reflected in the exterior lights and ornaments that were put out. And I have been in this neighborhood for 30 years.

Last year during Halloween, there were so many houses with fancy and huge animated dragons, spiders, skeletons, etc..., on the front yard. The streets were crowded with children from nearby neighborhoods going trick-or-treat. The adults were out having an informal block party. Quite a contrast with the years earlier.

The above said, I doubt that the "feel rich" or "feel poor" sentiment could alter that fast with the current dip in the market that has not even reached the level defined for a correction of -10%.

So, the observations that follow are interesting, but I am not sure that they are resulted that quickly from a market blip which is still small so far. It is often reported that the average household does not have that much in the market. They don't know it is bad until unemployment rises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
I don't know what this means, but the price of theater tickets seems to have dropped dramatically this past week in our area. We like to see plays, and I look for deals, but this past week the number of half price and comp tickets offers from my various lists has shot up noticeably...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom56 View Post
I don't know about theater ticket prices plunging, but airline fares have been plunging over the last few months and so have hotel room prices. We have people visiting us in Florida this December from Europe, and they told us that they bought tickets from Geneva to Miami for $532 return. Late December is peak season for Florida. New cars are also being sold a large discount these days and we live in one of the largest auto markets in the world (Los Angeles County). Restaurants are quite empty these days and many are offering deals to draw people in. Even the Costco we shop at has less and less traffic. We don't mind, it just increases our spending power and waiting times.
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Old 10-13-2018, 03:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by marko View Post
It might be location specific but even during the Jan-Feb 2009 doldrums (now there's a good word for it!) every restaurant, shop, mall and theater around here was as packed as it was the previous year. No job? No worries! That's what Visa is for!
We noticed that at the time too, and this in WV, not noted for being a wealthy state, although we do live in one of the wealthier parts, relativity speaking.

More recently though the mall closed several years ago and the last store in it, Bon-Ton, closed about six months ago. And about three months ago a large theater near the former mall closed. So all is not going well for all businesses.
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Old 10-13-2018, 03:32 PM   #16
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Yup, we did Universal and Disneyland had a great time as always. You gotta pay the mouse!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freedom56 View Post
At $46.79 it's a bargain. We have been going to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror nights for the past 20 years. It's a total blast.

https://hhntickets.universalstudiosh...seTickets.aspx

This year general admission is $75 to $104 per person plus parking and food charges. We buy the VIP express tickets (no waiting in line) an those are $179 to $239 each this year plus parking and food. Last year we took friends from Singapore who were visiting us to this event. They said they never had so much fun in their entire lives.

Yes it would be expensive for a large family to go. But so would going to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and other theme parks. You can't compare the theme parks today with what was available 30 to 40 years ago. They are a totally different experience.
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Old 10-13-2018, 03:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
We do not go shopping often, so did not know how it was during the Great Recession. But as we took our walk around the neighborhood, observed that there were fewer Christmas decorations during that time. Then, as the economy recovered, the better mood was definitely reflected in the exterior lights and ornaments that were put out. And I have been in this neighborhood for 30 years.

Last year during Halloween, there were so many houses with fancy and huge animated dragons, spiders, skeletons, etc..., on the front yard. The streets were crowded with children from nearby neighborhoods going trick-or-treat. The adults were out having an informal block party. Quite a contrast with the years earlier.

The above said, I doubt that the "feel rich" or "feel poor" sentiment could alter that fast with the current dip in the market that has not even reached the level defined for a correction of -10%.

So, the observations that follow are interesting, but I am not sure that they are resulted that quickly from a market blip which is still small so far. It is often reported that the average household does not have that much in the market. They don't know it is bad until unemployment rises.
My Observations were well before the market dip. This has been going on for months now. Automobile stocks are at multi-year lows for a reason. Retail stocks have been getting destroyed over the past year. Mall REITs have been in a bear market for about 18 month. Buying habits have changed for a lot of people. The younger generation are not buying things they feel they don't need like jewelry. The economy is driven primarily by consumer spending. The average household spends money they don't have. They use credit. That can go on forever.
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Old 10-13-2018, 03:37 PM   #18
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It may be venue and location specific.

Lift ticket prices at Deer Valley UT are up to $170 per day this year. Yep! And lunch will set you back $50 pp. Someone thinks this is worth it. (I don't, but I'll pay it anyway) And I'll predict that the place will be mobbed.

But they do have free parking!
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Old 10-13-2018, 03:44 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Wow, people are blowing dough. Not just retirees with more money than time left, but working families too. Wow.

Somehow, I don't think this is going to last.

PS. We do not like to be at crowded events, let alone having to pay this much. I guess we are boring people.
It's a night time event. It's not really intended for young kids but rather older teens and adults. We took my parents and my in-laws when they were in their 60's. We all had a blast.

During my working years we took our overseas customers out for dinner and then Halloween Horror night and they couldn't stop talking about it for months. They loved it so much that it became an annual ritual. Our customer enjoyed that more than Dodgers or Lakers games.
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Old 10-13-2018, 04:09 PM   #20
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It may be venue and location specific.

Lift ticket prices at Deer Valley UT are up to $170 per day this year. Yep! And lunch will set you back $50 pp. Someone thinks this is worth it. (I don't, but I'll pay it anyway) And I'll predict that the place will be mobbed.

But they do have free parking!
That could be it. There aren't as many plays over summer, so it could be that many theater groups are just starting up all at the same time, coupled with Halloween events and the tourist off season. I also realized rents have rising here over the summer so that may mean less discretionary income on a local level.

Usually there are more seat filler tickets when the economy isn't doing as well, so I was just surprised to see so many lately. But maybe it is just an anomaly.
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