Anyone who's attended a sporting event where the cost of admission is more than free, has probably seen ticket scalpers offering "2 down low" or asking if anyone's "got tickets?" I always try to get these two people to talk to each as they are often standing right next to each other. Not sure what their deals is. (I'm kidding of course. If YOU don't know, I'll tell you sometime).
But how often have you ever been a movie on opening night only to find out that either a) the movie is sold out, or b) there's already a huge line of people waiting to get in. Its times like these, that it might be worth dropping a few extra bucks to jump to the front of the line, or to get some reserved seats that aren't on the very front row. Speaking of the front row, how can it be legal to let people sit that close to a gigantic screen? If sitting too close to a TV hurts our eyes, I can't imagine what kind of damage you suffer sitting 5 feet from a gigantic movie screen.
In the same vein, why does every seat at every movie cost the same amount? I realize that there are such things as matinees and dollar movies, but really what I'm saying is, should the first row of seats cost the same as better seats in the middle? and additionally, how can they charge the same price for a movie that cost $10 million to make as they charge for a movie that cost $200 million to make? Or even more to the point, some movies are crappy. If Shawn and Marlon Wayans make a movie, it shouldn't cost as much to see that as it costs to see a good movie. It almost seems unfair to make you pay the same amount to see a movie that's obviously gong to be terrible (anything starring Rob Schneider for example) as something that looks to be really good (anything starring Will Smith).
Movie theaters are the only place that works on this weird economy that I can think of, except maybe public transit (although bad seats on the bus are more about who you are sitting next to). The performing arts has determined that some seats are better than others. Sports entertainment has pricing based on seating, and also on the level of play. NBA games cost more than college games, and college games in turn cost more than high school games, generally.
I'm sure there's some kind of time honored system that makes this whole weird movie pricing phenomenon work, but it always makes me scratch my head.