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Film Review Riddick

It was slow at the movies last week, with just more than 2 million turning out to watch Vin Diesel in "Riddick."

Think you’re spending more money to go to the movies?

You are.

Well, maybe not you as an individual, but nationally, the average cost of a movie ticket has risen to its highest point ever.

According to the National Association of Theater Owners, the average price of a movie ticket in the last quarter of 2013 rose to $8.38 from $7.96 a year ago. The increase, the exhibitors trade association says, is largely due to the $3 to $5 surcharge for 3-D and IMAX tickets.

But ticket prices are only one aspect of movie spending. Concessions and parking also take cash from moviegoers, making the cost of an evening at the flicks even higher.

Industry types argue that movies cost no more now, adjusted for inflation, than they did 40 years ago and that $9 is still bargain entertainment. But I’m hearing otherwise from those who have spent $20, $30 and $40 for a trip to the movies and say they can see the same picture at home in a few months for far less.

Irrelevant box office information

The movie industry and its slavish media crows about the weekly box office leader as if that indicates either quality or popularity for a movie. But neither is the case -- as the past weekend’s box office returns prove.

“Riddick,” the Vin Diesel sci-fi film, was the box-office champ taking in $19 million, which led to discussion about how well it performed in light of pre-release expectations while the entire box office was $66 million -- the lowest total of the year.

While those sound like big numbers, they’re not. Divide $19 by $8.38 (that average ticket price) and just 2.26 million people saw “Riddick,” a very low number and only 7.87 million went to the movies last week.

Those numbers, obviously, aren’t exact. But they’re close enough to show how few people, out of a population of more than 300 million, actually go to the movies on a slow weekend.

Blue Jasmine Lincoln run extended

“Blue Jasmine,” which was scheduled to end its three-week run at the Ross Media Arts Center Thursday, is being held over “by popular demand.” Woody Allen’s film about a New York socialite, played by sure Oscar-nominee Cate Blanchett, whose life falls apart, forcing her to move in with her working-class sister in San Francisco, is one of the best films of the year and one of the top box-office performers at the Ross.

Six movies leaving Lincoln

Six movies will leave Lincoln after their Thursday screenings.

Leaving the Marcus Theaters are “Closed Circuit,” “The Conjuring,” “The Mortal Instruments,” “This is the End” and “You’re Next.” Leaving the Ross Media Arts Center Thursday is the stunning killer whale documentary “Blackfish.”

Five films open in Lincoln Friday: “The Family,” the Mob comedy starring Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer; “Instructions Not Included,” a Spanish language dramedy; “Insidious: Chapter 2,” a horror sequel; and, at the Ross, “More Than Honey,” a documentary about bees; and “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” a slacker comedy from Lincoln native Bob Byington.

Reach L. Kent Wolgamott at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com, or follow him @LJSWolgamott.

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