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Cineplex hikes movie ticket prices after minimum wage increases

Cineplex has raised its ticket prices by between 22 and 51 cents a ticket in response to higher costs, including the need to pay for the recent increase in Canada's minimum wage.

Almost 90% of Cineplex's 13,000 employees earn minimum wage, according to last quarterly results

A movie chain like Cineplex is especially vulnerable to minimum wage hikes since the vast majority of its workers make minimum wage. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

Cineplex has raised its ticket prices by between 22 and 51 cents a ticket in response to higher costs, including the need to pay for the recent increase in Canada's minimum wage.

The movie chain confirmed to CBC News in an email Wednesday that it raised prices at some locations as of last Saturday, Oct. 1.

"We pride ourselves on making movie tickets as affordable as possible for our guests and these changes were put in place to offset the continuing increased cost of operating our theatres," spokeswoman Sarah Van Lange said.

A big part of those added costs is employee wages, which are also going up. In recent weeks, several provinces have moved to hike their minimum wages, including Ontario and Alberta.

Companies like Cineplex are especially sensitive to increases like that since they have so many minimum-wage workers. The chain's last quarterly results show that almost 90 per cent of Cineplex's 13,000 employees earn minimum wage.

That floor has risen rapidly in recent years. After stagnating for more than a decade, the average minimum wage in has increased by 29 per cent in the past five years in some provinces.

Famous Players

"It is also important to remind Canadians that even with these minor pricing changes, general admission into our theatres is still much lower than our counterparts in the United States," Van Lange said

She added that ticket prices at Famous Players theatres are in many instances cheaper than they were when Cineplex took over that chain a decade ago. At that time, a general admission ticket cost $13.95 at some locations.

While box office prices are only a part of how Cineplex makes money, in its last quarter the average moviegoer spent $9.62 at one of the company's theatres, up 17 cents compared to the same period a year ago.

Attendance declined to 16.9 million people during the period.

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