Price of tickets at Gem Theatre in Kannapolis going up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Joanie Morris
KANNAPOLIS ó There are signs of the financial strain the economy has put on people everywhere ó from the gasoline pumps to the supermarkets.
Now you can add the Gem Theatre to the list.
Steve Morris, owner and general manager of the historic theater in Kannapolis, said Tuesday the company would be increasing ticket prices for the first time since 2001, when it started showing first-run movies.
The recent prices of $4 for adults and $2 for children are lauded in the area as being the cheapest around to see first-run movies such as “The Dark Knight,” now showing at the Gem Theatre.
But now, while adult ticket prices will remain the same, children’s ticket prices ó and with them, senior prices ó will increase by $1. In addition, movies shown before 6 p.m., when tickets used to be $2 for all, are now $3 per ticket.
Those prices are still the cheapest in the area to see first-run movies, but a 50 percent increase in ticket price for children.
“That just basically helps us with the film companies,” Morris said about the change in prices. While the companies charge a percentage of ticket sales, by being able to give a little bit more to the companies, Morris can ensure that the theater continues to be competitive for first-run movies like the box-office smash, “The Dark Knight.”
For the movie company producing the “The Dark Night,” every $3 ticket purchased means $2.10 for the movie company and $0.90 for the Gem Theatre.
“It helps when we are competing to get the new releases,” Morris said. By being able to give a little more, he can ensure quality movie titles consider the Gem as a viable option for showings.
In addition, Morris said the company also had to increase concession prices slightly several months ago.
That is a direct result of the economic downturn. The 5-gallon bucket of oil to pop his popcorn several months ago cost $25. Because of the rising cost of everything else, Morris said his suppliers are now charging $95 per 5-gallon bucket. Popcorn prices are also going up, because growers are finding it more economical to produce corn for ethanol rather than popping corn.
“It all goes back to gasoline prices,” Morris said. The increase has been gradual over a period of time and he said customers are hardly noticing ó or if they are, they aren’t commenting.
“It’s gone pretty much unnoticed by our customers,” Morris said. “We’ve had very few comments about it.”
He said the company doesn’t anticipate an increase in adult movie prices ó firmly priced at $4 ó anytime soon.
This is the first time in seven years that the Gem Theatre has raised ticket prices. Morris said the increase then was based on the movies shown.
“When we first started showing first-run shows was when we started the $4 for adults and $2 for children,” he said. Prior to that, pre-released movie ticket prices were $1. The theater didn’t show first-run movies.
For more information on ticket prices and showtimes, call 704-932-5111 or visit