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LSC Raises Admission to $2.50 To Help Slow Financial Slide

By Jean K. Lee
associate news editor

Last week, the Lecture Series Committee announced that the price of general admission to its movies will go up next term by 25 percent, from the current $2.00 to $2.50.

The last general admission price increase occurred in the fall of 1993 when the fee was raised 33 percent from $1.50 to $2.00.

The increase is largely in response to inflation in film rental costs as well as recent financial losses, said LSC Chairman Christopher C. Marchant '98.

"It has cost us more money to show [movies] than we got in ticket sales," Marchant said. The group has lost money on most of its recent movies - about $1,000 so far this term and about the same over Independent Activities Period.

Although LSC has lost money for some movies every term for several years, the trend seems to be getting worse, Marchant said. Without a price increase, LSC may "run out of money in the next few, maybe five, years."

"We have to make that up somehow," Marchant said. "We hope [the price increase] will allow us to continue to improve the quality of LSC movies."

High costs prompt price increase

Marchant said that financial pressure by film studios - including a 40 percent increase in rental costs - could hurt LSC's ability to show current films.

"The prices charged by movie studios have really skyrocketed lately," Marchant said."LSC's ability to show a variety of recent movies would be put in jeopardy if [the 25 percent] price increase were not instituted."

Still, keeping operation costs - up 27 percent - and ticket prices down is still a priority, he said.

Another dilemma is the difficulty of finding movies that will attract a large part of the MIT community. "LSC had a tough time finding blockbuster movies to schedule this term," Marchant said, "so we did expect attendance to be less than in the past."

Student reaction varied

Overall, student reaction to the planned price increase varied between unhappy and unconcerned.

"I think it's silly because other universities show movies for free and even bring in bands," said Roopa Das '98. "MIT doesn't offer us anything but instead charges us. People won't do anything about it because they're apathetic and they'll still go. I'm not going to boycott it or anything."

For others the price increase didn't make much of a difference. "It's still substantially cheaper than movie theatres," which also have the "added cost of transportation and time," said Olufemi A. Omojola '98.

Jamie P. Vinsant '99 agreed. "It's still worth it [compared to] spending $7 at a movie theater," he said. "I understand that they need to do this to keep their business going."

"I go at least five times a term, and I'll still go," said Ericka S. Moreno '99. "We get free previews and an eclectic selection of movies."

Despite the price increase and the financial losses, Marchant said that he does not expect any drastic changes. "What we are doing is not unreasonable," he said. "We did not see any other way to ensure we could continue to show a wide variety of the newest and most popular films on campus."

Marchant said that LSC is "looking into something new for the fall." Also, plans for new discount programs for living groups and frequent attendees are in progress to offer price reductions.

"We [also] have bigger titles coming up than we did earlier this term," he said.