A $15 movie ticket? Maybe by late '90s


LOS ANGELES -- Foreign investment in Hollywood will rise dramatically during the next 10 years, and ticket prices could increase to $15, according to a survey by the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche.

The survey, which was released Friday, questioned 229 senior management executives at U.S. entertainment companies about the movie industry's finances, film distribution and studio ownership in the 1990s.

Sixty-seven percent of the executives said that they expect foreign investment and lending to increase dramatically over the next 10 years, while 29 percent expect it to remain at current levels and 1 percent expect it to decrease dramatically. The rest had no answer.

Fifty-three percent of the executives said foreign markets will generate more revenue than the domestic market by 2000.

The executives were not convinced, however, that Hollywood studios will be taken over in deals such as Sony Corp.'s acquisition of Columbia Pictures and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.'s deal to acquire MCA Inc.

Forty-two percent said movie companies will be primarily foreign-owned by 2000, but 40 percent disagreed. The rest said that they didn't know.

Joel Koenig, of Deloitte & Touche's entertainment industry group, said one of the changes will be rising ticket prices as "a reaction to rising production costs."

In the firm's survey, 58 percent of the executives said movie tickets will cost $10 to $15 by the end of the 1990s, and 34 percent said that they will remain between $5 and $10. Six percent said they will climb to between $15 and $20, and 1 percent said they will skyrocket above $20.

Stephen Unger, managing director of Korn/Ferry International's entertainment division, said the survey shows that Hollywood probably anticipates more foreign lending and investment because it has accepted them as a viable way to finance movies.

"Movie companies will be less threatened by the notion [of foreign investment]," he said. "In the 1990s, the boundaries will blur even more."

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