Is it time to say goodbye to four dollar movies, Aggies? A conversation between junior economics major, Raj Panesar, and the manager of Cinemark in College Station has prompted an evaluation of ticket prices.
Theodore Allen has both owned and managed the theater since 1985. He opened his theater during what many call the ‘Golden Age’ of cinema. Theo, as he is referred to by his peers, fondly recalls the screening of movie classics like The Breakfast Club and Back to the Future. Ticket prices were set at four dollars when the theater opened. Students began to flock to Cinemark.
Theo says, “You would have thought we were herding cattle the way those kids came to see movies back then.” The theater has stood the test of time as Cinemark has become the destination of choice for students looking to watch the newest films. Though the theater has seen several renovations and expansions, two things remain from Cinemark’s 1985 opening—Theo’s passion for great films and the ticket prices.
The latter has been a huge selling point for the theater. Students coming from the Dallas and Houston areas are consistently surprised when they learn that College Station ticket prices are less than half of their urban competitors. This was a fact that Theo was oblivious to until his conversation with Mr. Panesar. Impressed by the affordability of the tickets, Raj asked a Cinemark employee to speak with the manager. He told Theo how he had to pay upwards of twelve dollars to see movies back in his hometown of Plano. Theo was floored. The thought that people would raise the prices of tickets disgusted him. “How could any God-fearing and movie-going man completely screw over his customers by raising prices?”, he wondered.
Theo explained, “People kept showing up to see movies in the 80’s for four bucks, so hell, I’m gonna keep charging four bucks.” Panesar patted the manager on the shoulder, tussled his hair, and began to explain the concept of inflation. Theo could not believe that the same ticket from 1985 should be selling for about nine dollars today. “I guess that explains gas prices…” Theo said.
Mr. Allen is firm in his decision to keep prices at four dollars. “The movies are about transporting you to different places” he says.
In this case, Theo wants movie goers to be transported to a time when “the brat pack reigned, leg warmers were still in fashion, and students could afford to buy a movie ticket.”
When asked about the decision Raj said “That man just seems to be preoccupied with 1985, but who am I to complain… cheap movies.”
As of press time the manager has decided to teach himself Excel to replace his collection of sticky notes he had been recording business transactions on for the past 30 years.