Dubai: Movie-goers in the UAE have complained of discrepancies in the prices of cinema tickets in the country, saying that they are unable to understand the logic behind varying costs for the same film.
Cinema companies in Dubai are charging movie lovers different prices for 2D, VIP and 3D cinema tickets depending on the theatre’s location and chair and screen size.
Gulf News talked to different cinemas about their range of prices across malls in Dubai.
The Reel Cinemas charges customers Dh35 for 2D movies and Dh45 for 3D movies at The Dubai Mall and the Beach Mall. However, ticket prices for the same movies differ at the Reel Cinemas located in Marina Mall. Standard tickets for 2D movies are set at Dh55 for adults and Dh35 for children below the height of 120cm, and tickets for 3D movies are Dh75 for adults and Dh55 for children.
A customer care agent at the cinema told Gulf News that the reason for the gap in prices is based on the type of theatre and chair size. “All the theatres at Marina Mall’s cinema are premium theatres which include reclining chairs,” he said. Theatres located at all the other malls are categorised as standard theatres.
Vox Cinemas, another popular weekend destination for many, also charges higher ticket prices at different malls. Movies shown in 2D with VIP seating are set at Dh40 at Mirdif City Centre, Mall of the Emirates, and Deira City Centre, but cost Dh50 only at Mercato Mall. 3D VIP cinema tickets also cost an additional Dh5 at Mercato Mall.
“The reason tickets cost more at Mercato Mall is because the seats are arranged in twos and the layout of the cinema is different,” a customer care agent told Gulf News. VIP seating is the upper rows of a standard theatre and are furthest from the screen. Vox Cinemas also charges customers an extra Dh10 for movies shown in Vox Max theatres, which are halls with larger screens.
With cinemas adjusting prices according to screen size and seating arrangements, customers said they are unhappy with the addition of extra charges for the 2D standard tickets.
Regular movie-goer Salma Fahmi, from Egypt, said she is unhappy about the discrepancy in prices. “When a new movie is released, it’s only shown at the more expensive 2D theatre such as Vox Max or in 3D.” Salma pointed out that all movies, whether new or old, should be shown in 2D with standard ticket prices along with the option of 3D or iMax. “With new movies, I feel like I’ve been cheated and forced to pay more every time.” While Salma feels that cinemas are taking advantage of customers when new movies are released, the VIP seating system is another issue, she added. “Separating the theatre into regular and VIP seating to make more money is pathetic.”
Meanwhile, Laila Hamad, from Palestine, said she likes having different options at the movies, and doesn’t mind paying an additional charge for extra services. “On special occasions, it’s nice to have the fancier option of watching a movie on reclining chairs with a blanket and a proper menu to choose from.” Laila said going to watch a movie in a Vox Gold theatre with her dad on his birthday was an enjoyable experience. However, she added that an extra charge for a standard ticket that is labelled VIP is a waste of money. “Paying more to sit a few rows higher is simply a rip-off.”
A senior official at the Department of Economic Development (DED) told Gulf News that the price for regular seating at any cinema should be Dh30, while a film shown in High Definition quality should cost Dh35.
“All cinema outlets have to follow our rules, and they are not allowed to charge any additional costs. But the Dh30 price is only for the regular seating area, and cinemas can charge more if they offer VIP seats, or if the seats are different and not like the regular standard ones,” said Ayman Al Falasi, Senior Director of Consumer Complaints Section at the DED.
Al Falasi explained that inspectors monitor cinemas’ websites on a monthly basis to ensure that regular tickets do not exceed Dh35, and if they come across any such instance, the cinema’s management is contacted.
“If customers want to lodge a complaint, they should retain their ticket and receipt as proof of purchase so that we can investigate the case,” he said.
Consumers can file their complaints through firstname.lastname@example.org, Ahlan Dubai on +971 600 545555, or contact the department at twitter @Dubai_DED.
—With inputs by Mariam M. Al Serkal, Senior Reporter