Saturday, December 19, 2009

New York Movie Prices in Accra?


We were all set to see the film Avatar tonight. It had great reviews and seemed like a lovely diversion from the gloomy Christmas spirit of 2009. Where else in Accra can one see fresh releases such as Avatar on a wide-screen with crystal-clear surround sound but at the Silverbird Cinema at the Accra Mall? 

Any  Silverbird regular knows that they charge GHC10.00 ($7) for a movie which many people consider quite steep. I was among those "many people" but had come to accept that the price wasn't coming down anytime soon. My first trip over to Silverbird to see Quantum of Solace was so enjoyable I blogged about it.


Anyway, I had trouble finding movie times for Avatar online so en route to Tema this morning, I stopped by the Accra Mall. I found the perfect movie time (6:05pm) but just when I was leaving, my eyes fell on a small notice at the empty ticket desk. It read something like: 


"Due to circumstances beyond our control -blah-blah-blah- management would like to announce effective 18th December 2009 the following increases in ticket prices...."


Indeed. Adult tickets are now going for GHC 15.00 ($10.71) while there are discounts for students, senior citizens and children. What?!! Suddenly, Avatar at GHC15.00 without drinks and popcorn did not seem worth it! I called up Daixy whom I was supposed to see the film with and told her about the price hike. She was at the mall later and called me back to confirm that I was not hallucinating when I read the notice, there was actually a 50% price hike.
 "Well", she said "We can always go dressed as Seniors!". I laughed but hmmm maybe it is not such a bad idea!


Out of curiosity, I went online to see how much Avatar would cost at  AMC Empire 25 in the middle of Times Square New York. You get the full movie experience plus the hustle, bustle and bright lights of the city that never (ever) sleeps!



Watching Avatar tonight at the AMC Empire 25 would set you back $12.50. If you were to take the subway into the borough of Brooklyn, you could watch it there for $9 at the Bay Ridge Alpine Cinema. Does the Silverbird price hike sounds like a case of New York movie prices in Ghana?!


In defense of Silverbird, I do understand that they are MAJOR costs associated with bringing a brand-new release such as Avatar to Ghana. The company has to seriously recoup on their costs. However, I'm still wondering... doesn't raising the price of tickets by 50% scare away a number of potential customers who would be helping with the cost recovery? Has the Silverbird management carefully considered that raising the price to this level will not affect their core market? Perhaps that is the case. Clearly, I am not part of their target market. I would rather be watching a film at New York prices in New York than watching a film at New York prices in Ghana at a Ghanaian salary! 

So how are people entertaining themselves in Accra these days? Am I the only one suffering from persistent acute boredom? Hmm... is it too late to make it to the Samini Experience Tour tonight?

22 comments:

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Hm. This smells "lets cash in on the overseas-xmas-visitors" long way...Thanks for opening our eyes to this ridiculous 50% increase. To me, 15 GHC is way too expensive, even the 10 GHC was a stretch. Probably, I will go to the movies just once or twice a year now.

Also, as the theatres most often are half empty in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowded mall, it seems to me like the Silverbird Cinema has made the wrong conclusion about price here.

Courtnee said...

Hey, Ab, I heard that "Avatar" was boring so it's probably not worth the ticket price whatever it is. Another case of James Cameron spending too much time on CGI and not enough time on the plot.

For your entertainment, I have links to a few mixtapes that may be of interest to you. First is African Swim--a mixtape from Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. I know that sounds sketchy, but they actually produce decent mixtapes. I haven't heard this one yet though. Secondly, and more recently, is the J. Period and K'naan mixtape. I haven't gotten through the whole thing, but it's an interesting listen so far and K'naan tells engaging stories from his life. Lastly, and hot off the virtual presses, is the J. Period and N'neka mixtape. I just downloaded this, but if it's as strong as her single "Heartbeat," it'll be a really good mixtape. I'm afraid I don't know if any of the artists are Ghanian, but I'm guessing Nigeria is being represented big time. Enjoy, from one procrastinator to another!

Abena Serwaa said...

@Kajsa, glad to hear you agree! You may have a point that Silverbird are probably targettin the overseas xmas crowd! Unfortunately, this gamble may backfire bigtime. What Silverbird needs is healthy competition.

Abena Serwaa said...

Courty! So Avatar is not all that? Somehow I feel better. But u know u were all over Titanic. Actually I think it was only the Leo factor. Thanks for the interestin links..K'naan's 'wavin flag' is one of my current faves. Nneka is fab too. Hope u're saved from all the blizzard action in ATL..hmm or are u in VA for Xmas? Off to read your blog!

Nana said...

Funnily enough I was at the mall tonight - my sister went to the cinema and told me that adult tickets are noe GHC 15. My response was "I'm not going to the cinema again unless someone is treating me". She has also decided to do the same. It's a real shame because the amount just seems like a rip off. By the time you add your popcorn and drink you have spent well over GHC 20

Abena Serwaa said...

@Nana,a complete rip-off that I refuse to give into (for now!). I'm now shopping for a wealthy sponsor to bankroll my Accra entertainment. Any leads will be appreciated :)

Daixy said...

LMAO Thanks a lot Abena. Now Silverbird will be on the lookout for senior citizens with amazingly nice looking legs and sashaying hips :P

It IS rather outrageous and I too refuse to go to the movies. Once in a while or when someone is treating is fine but I will be boycotting the place for the longest time. This is a huge mistake. The economy is down and they're raising prices. Way to read their market. I have one word for them. Baka! Maybe they'll lower prices when people refuse to show up.

That said, I certainly hope Ghanaians realise this is extortion and call for blood. We've been taking a lot lying down. About time we made our voices heard.

Nita said...

I could go shopping with 15GHC, more or less. But this is nutrageous, not everyone's got their personal money tree hence I'd rather buy a couple of dvds to watch at home than go to the mall...

Daixy said...

@ Nita....hear hear. GHC15 is the cost of a sexy pair of heels from Makola. Those sexy heels would impress my boyfriend and make every man for miles around envious of him. That would, in turn, make my man feel good and trust me, the benefits of having my man happy far outweigh the benefits of sitting down to watch one movie that I could simply watch for free or cheaper elsewhere.

It seems Ghana is all about treating VIPs. If you're not bloody stinking rich, then you are not allowed to have fun. Well I say poo to them. Those of us without sugar daddys will find other ways to entertain ourselves. Or we'll attend acting and make-up classes so we can disguise ourselves :P

Abena Serwaa said...

@Daixy; Sashaying hips? I guess I'm guilty. Valid points on mireading the market! BTW; I take it the way to your man's heart is through a pair high heels? Hmmmm... *LOL*

@Nita; You have hit the hammer right on the nail. GHC15.00 could be used to buy a bunch of movies making everyone stay home and stifling the spirit of a movie night in town. Sad.

Raine said...

I saw Avatar on Friday- went for the real d 3d experience (yes, its called real d 3d) and paid $14.50 for it.... I guess I paid for every D (@ $1 a piece?) but anyway. This was an exception though. If it was going to cost me $15 for every time I go to the movies, then I will NOT be going to the movies. I'll just stay home and wait for it to come on DVD.

But AVATAR was good. LONG, but good. It did drag a bit in the beginning but overall a good movie. I would definitely recommend it in 3D, better yet IMAX but I guess that would mean an extra 20ghc on top of the already ridiculous 15ghc.

Daixy said...

LOL! There's loadsa ways to my man's heart ;)

@ Raine...they keep trying to stop pirating and torrenting and such but forget the peeps who download movies in such ways are those who cannot afford to pay to go see them.

I think it's time I brought my eyepatch and buccaneer hat out of retirement ;)

Abena Serwaa said...

@Raine Hehehehe! That is so funny that you paid for each 'd' of the 3D. Avatar was loooong but good? Now I'm more curious but I refuse to give in. Seeing it in IMAX would be great too but I think we are light years away from IMAX in the big GH.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

I have not thought about entertainment this Christmas. But I think my Sony LCD and Sony machine would be a great companion in my tiny room. Could as well connect the laptop to it and create my own movie experience. Can't cough GHC15 not that I ever visited the place when it was GHC5 less.

Abena Serwaa said...

@NFA Invite us over! Btw, welcome back...

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Hmmmm.... On 14th January, I will travel to accra by Cheap Flights to Accra and I will try to watch that movie there.......

Abena Serwaa said...

@ Cheap flights , I love the plug!

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Barbara said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one outraged with the ticket price increase. We went to see Avatar, me and 3 kids, and I handed over my GHC 40 and was waiting for change and was astounded when the cashier demanded more money. I nearly freaked out at the counter, and would have just turned away and gone home if I didn't have 3 kids looking as pitiful as they did.

Apparently, there's no business-minded individual who works at Silverbird and thinks, "Aha! We've got fixed overhead for this first run movie so let's lower the price and pack the theater and make a damn profit!"

It will be cheaper for us to buy a (pirated) DVD and pop some corn in the house.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Barbara Thanks for the comment! Now that sounds like it was a harrowing experience. I totally agree with you; why not the business-minded approach where lower prices would mean more people instead of raising prices and hoping that those who will afford will always keep on coming? The strategy is totally all wrong! More people also means more money spent at the concession stand.

Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

Abena, missed u o! Happy New Year!

Would you be happier knowing that my little self has never been to the cinema in Ghana before? It's all about the prices...me thinks someone has to set up a FACEBOOK group to bring down the prices...wanna lead the way?;-))

Abena Serwaa said...

Happy New Year EKB!! As for the facebook group, I wonder if it would do any good.