According to a Village Roadshow executive responsible for film distribution, Australian pirates are driving up the cost of cinema tickets for regular moviegoers -- along with the high cost of Aussie wages for multiplex staff, illegal online downloads apparently justify ticket prices topping $20 in some places around the country.
Graham Burke, the co-executive chairman of Village Roadshow -- the company that owns and operates the Village cinemas all across Victoria and Tasmania, and distributes a bunch of big-name blockbusters every year -- has told the Sydney Morning Herald that along with Australian wages being high, piracy was responsible for the ever-rising prices of tickets.
Firstly, he says, tickets aren't $20 -- "It's more like $17 and $18 [a ticket] and there's loads of discount available," and you can chalk up most of that cost to the roughly $23 per hour Village pays its staff, as opposed to the $8 that US employees are generally paid.
Piracy is another concern for Burke, though, and it's apparently eating away at his bottom line. "Spreading like a virus" are his actual words, and he doesn't shy away from expressing his worries (emphasis ours): "Australia is probably the worst country in the world for pirating movies."
We don't know whether that's a fact or hyperbole, but we do know that when it comes to television piracy, Australia is no slouch. So there's at least a partial explanation for why when you go to the cinemas next time, you won't get much change from $50 for a couple of tickets -- and that's before popcorn and a drink.
Burke takes his reasoning a little far for our liking, though; he says in the same breath that a $110 trip to Gold Class -- that's two movie tickets, a bottle of wine and a couple of sliders or a plate of sushi -- is "a very cheap night out". He's also comparing it favourably to a $240 meal for two at "any restaurant" -- as much as I like those Gold Class seats, I know which of the two I'd prefer. [SMH]