Tickets to Avengers: Endgame in 3D with assigned seats on Friday night cost around $22 in New York City, one of the more expensive markets in the nation. Average prices for a ticket to a U.S. movie theater are just about $9. There are plenty of tickets available, too, according to a quick search on Google and Fandango.
So why are people spending $500, let alone $15,000, for a ticket to see the film?
As the New York Post reports, some “shrewd capitalists” in the New York area are selling their opening weekend tickets for up to $500 a seat, while an official Friday “premiere-day” ticket is going for $200 on Craigslist, and there has been a steady trade of tickets on eBay.
The tickets for the film went on sale April 2 and instantly started selling. Fandango reported that the Marvel Universe crossover movie sold the most first-day tickets for an online retailer in history, even beating sales for Avengers: Infinity War, the 2018 movie that murdered all your favorite superheroes. The movie will reportedly play in more than 4,600 American and Canadian theaters–making it the widest release ever–so that means there should be plenty of tickets to go around.
In the world of economics, that also means ticket prices should remain constant, with supply and demand evening things out. So what’s with the wild secondary market where people are shelling out hundreds (and in at least one case thousands) of dollars for a ticket when you can just buy one for $20 online? It all comes down to that other economic variable–perceived value.
Some people apparently think it’s worth paying to be in the theater on opening night. Maybe they want to post it on Instagram, or be in the first viewing to avoid spoilers, or find out if there is a post-credit scene, or maybe they just really, really want to know Spider-Man’s fate.
Or maybe they view the screening as a form of self-care.
Whatever the reason, if people want to spend ridiculous sums of money for something they can see at a lower price, that’s up to them. Plus, as Esquire points out, reports of those wildly astronomical sales may be nothing more than hype. Regardless of whether the most exorbitant ticket sales are real, Avengers: Endgame is set for a record-breaking opening weekend gross of $300 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.