When I was a child, and maybe a teenager, too, there existed cheap cinema (movie theatre) matinee tickets. They do not exist any more. There may be the odd children's movie that is cheaper, but generally, going to the cinema is very expensive, especially if a whole family is going. I really do not go to see movies that way anymore, since it is expensive, and more importantly, it is too tiring and also painful for me to sit still in a chair for two hours in the noise (many films are really noisy). Just too much for me. There are some film clubs that show a few 2-3 year old films for a bit less. But on the whole, cinema tickets prices are more inflated over time than probably any other consumer product. The movie theatre market is dominated by one big actor here, and the movie companies charge as much as they can.
Apparently, the theatres makes most of their profit on the sales of candy, pop corn and lemonades. As long as people pay these high prices, prices will remain high. The cost of showing movies has partly decreased. Most theatres are multiplexes, decreasing the rate of employees in relation to the number of customers. The digitalization will decrease the cost of distribution greatly. Will that lower the prices? Probably not, it is a market with very poor competition and the commercial actors are more than willing to lean on governments to get their greed fulfilled. What is even the point of paying much to once watch a digital film (with ads), when anyone can do it in their home for a lot less? When you have shelled out a big heap of money, sitting in front of the screen, you are treated with insolent messages about piracy. Imagine going to the food store and just upon entering someone shoves a big sign in front of your face stating: "You are not a thief, are you??". Oh well, we get those messages on DVDs too. But then that branch of the commercial sector despises its customers. Nothing new, and I digress. But then I am a duffer, and that is what we do 😛
It seems at least in the U.S. there seem to be cheaper (less expensive) matinee tickets. This duffer memory of mine is for my own country, Sweden. I do not know the situation in other European countries.
In my childhood and teens, there were only public service broadcasting in Sweden (as was the case in most of Europe), apart from the occasional pirate offshore radio stations that was not liked by the state monopolies. Therefore, the only place to see moving picture or animation advertising was in the cinema. It was exotic and and a small part of the experience. Yes, I know, somewhat sad, even if the memory is not sad, nor is it nostalgic. Now we are of course much more blasé, or numbed, by advertising. Great progress.
When I was a child, there were matinee shows, at least in the weekends. They were considerably cheaper than the regular shows. What is interesting is that they showed old movies. Some, or all, of them probably were shown on tv at some point. On tv there were few newer movies, so I grew up with many classics on teve. For me classic movies are those made before I was born. Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Alec Guiness, those are great classic actors for me. At the cinema the resolution and the sound was very much better than on tv. When I was really small, there was only b/w tv (one channel!), so to see moving pictures in color one had to go to the cinema. Not counting those homemade Super-8 movies etc.
I do not remember how much I went to matinees as a child. The cinemas (three in my small home town) were not within walking distance to my home. I remember seeing the Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn with my father, an old b/w movie from his childhood. I also saw at least one Marx Brothers movie at the cinema. There were probably more, but these two I recall. Sea Hawk was probably rather exciting at times for a young kid.
It must have been before my first age 15+ rated movie, which I saw when I was 10. You could watch those with your legal guardian. I thought it was very cool to watch this very cool movie with cool cars and cool gadgets and cool guys, that wasn't really scary even for my non-dulled sense. I was probably too young to really appreciate the girls in bikinis. I am quite sure I felt J.B. earned me some bragging rights, too. The film was You Only Live Twice. Interestingly it was a few years old at the time I saw it, so not only new and really old films were shown. New films did take a year a or two to go from the U.S to Europe. That intended lag (film copies cost money to make) has largely been killed by the Internet, I guess.