At what price is entertainment value for money?

Like many others, I went to the movies today to see Gone Girl. It’s a great film and a brilliant adaptation of the book. Apart from the lack of prolonged Ben Affleck nudity, I really enjoyed all aspects of the film. But you know what I didn’t enjoy?

The price of the ticket.

Now, I’m not a big movie fan. I’m likely to go to the cinema to twice a year on average. It’s not because I live far away, it’s just that I’d usually rather read or be more active than sitting captive to film previews before the event. But at $23 AUD for an adult ticket, it made me question – what price is good value for entertainment?

Obviously, this is going to be an individual decision. As far as I know, there’s no formula devised that guarantees a good time for very little money. Most of my hobbies – reading, travel, baking and blogging involve an outlay of cash. While I am accepting of paying $35 AUD for the new Murakami in hardcover in order to have it on the day of release, I’m sure many of you would think that’s a waste of money. But what’s your breakpoint?

My breakpoint for a movie ticket is somewhere around the $20 AUD mark I discovered today. It cost me more to see the Gone Girl film than it did for the book (I bought it some time ago as a large format paperback, which cost $19 AUD). I saw the movie in less than three hours (including the never ending previews for upcoming films – ‘based on a true story’ is the next thing, people) but I took several days to read the book. My total reading time would have been about four and a half hours. To me, the book is a better value. (I’m not dissing Gone Girl here; it’s just easy to compare the same subject matter over several formats).

So, let’s compare the price of new release forms of entertainment (based on Aussie dollars):

A new release book (example: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion):

Price at Dymocks bookstore $22.99 AUD (at a discount department store, you would pay about $16-19 AUD).

The same book in ebook format:

Somewhat cheaper at $11.05 at Amazon AU, but there’s the whole paper book vs eBooks debate (which is another story for a different day).

A new release DVD (as I’ve mentioned, I’m not much of a film fan, so let’s take Big W’s word that these are new releases):

They’re between $16 – $24 AUD on sale, $28 AUD post-sale.

I’m happy to consider $23 AUD for a book that I can have, hold, read and lend before keeping in my library – but a film? Not for me. I’d rather watch DVD sale prices/rent online or borrow from the library and sink money saved into a cracker holiday.

How about you? Do you choose entertainment based on its value to you? What things would you be happy to splurge on and what things would you scrimp on?

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5 thoughts on “At what price is entertainment value for money?

  1. Great reminder that although books are ‘relatively’ expensive in Australia they are still better value for money than many other forms of entertainment that many don’t seem to question the price of.

  2. When it comes to entertainment, as long it’s something I enjoy I don’t mind spending a little more (but still within a reasonable price). Although, I would be willing to spend more on books (not an e-book) than any other form of entertainment. That is mainly because I can get more hours of entertainment out of book and unlike going to the movies, I can re-read the book as many times as I want.

  3. There is much food for thought here. If we brought in the price of meals and their entertainment value it could be an entirely new discussion. I enjoy the very occasional meal out, but not top price. Just fun and friends. Movies, it has to be a very good movie to entice me. Books, well I am always happy to spend up on books be they either ebooks or paper books. To sum up, I guess I agree with you. Books are indeed much better value, especially if you read them twice. I don’t however.

  4. I have been to the movies twice in the past 6 years since I had my kids. I think the movie prices border on ridiculous – I’ve never been a big movie person, but there have been things I wouldn’t mind seeing and I always end up deciding against it because of the price. I wait until they come to Foxtel or out on dvd and I decide whether or not I want to own it forever. I’d rather pay for tv to have the movies and programs I want to watch whenever I feel like it than exorbitant prices to go to the cinema at a certain time, as well as find & pay for a babysitter to watch my kids. I would MUCH rather go and buy a book (or 5!) as well! I keep books and love that I can go back to them time and time again and they’ll always be there.

  5. This is partly why I don’t go to the movies very often, either. (It’s also partly because most of the movies playing usually look terrible.) I’d rather pay $15 for a paperback book that takes 6 hours to read than $10-12 for a movie that takes 2 – 2.5 hours to watch.

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