THE $25 MOVIE
First, the $6 cup of coffee – now brace yourself for the $25 movie ticket.
That’s the record sum that will be charged to see “Dreamgirls” for the first 10 days of its theatrical run, beginning on Dec. 15.
The highly anticipated film version of the 1981 Broadway musical about a singing group resembling the Supremes stars BeyoncÈ, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy.
It will be showing exclusively at the Ziegfeld in Manhattan, as well as at single theaters in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The $25 ticket buys a reserved seat, a 50-page color souvenir program and a look at a lobby exhibition of costume and set designs.
Moviegoers will also have “the opportunity to purchase exclusive merchandise and the film’s soundtrack in the lobby,” according to the movie’s Web site.
The film will be shown without commercials or coming-attraction trailers. There will be only one showing per evening, with an added matinee on weekends.
Paramount, the film’s distributor, is reaching back into movie history to bring back the “road show” – or reserved-seat engagements at higher-than-usual prices.
The practice was standard for big-budget Hollywood pictures into the 1960s, with blockbusters like “The Ten Commandments,” “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Sound of Music” running six months or more at a single theater with higher prices.
The last official road show was “Man of La Mancha,” another film based on a Broadway musical, in 1972.
“Dreamgirls” is being treated much like a live theatrical presentation – although $25 is a bargain compared with the $110 and up charged for orchestra tickets to Broadway musicals – to build buzz and the film’s Oscar chances.
“We wanted to bring it to audiences in a special way, and we think this road show does the film justice,” Jim Tharp, Paramount’s president of distribution, told Variety.
There’s one difference – road-show movies generally had an intermission. “Dreamgirls,” which runs 125 minutes, will not. The last movie with an intermission was “Gandhi,” in 1982.
Theater owners and studios have debated for years whether tickets to popular and expensive movies should carry a premium, as well as whether prices should be dropped after a movie is running for a few weeks.
Last year, the Ziegfeld, a 1,131-seat single-screen theater on West 54th Street that is often used for movie premieres, charged $12.50 – instead of the usual $10.75 – for its exclusive run of “The Producers,” a Broadway hit that flopped on the big screen.
“Dreamgirls” will be showing at regular prices – even at the Ziegfeld – when it goes into wide national release on Christmas Day.
THE $25 MOVIE