Cinema chain under fire for 'charging double'

Joel Adams
Vue Cinema in Carmarthen costs nearly twice as much as the branch in Cardiff - www.alamy.com

A cinema chain is under fire from parents after it was claimed that ticket prices were almost double the cost depending on the location.

In Carmarthen in Wales a family would pay £34.16 to watch a film but in Cardiff it is only £19.00.

Parents are so angry at what they call unfair pricing they are organising a boycott. One labelled the discrepancy "unacceptable" and claimed it was because of a lack of local competition.

Vue said discounted tickets are available to its customers on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Mother-of-two Anna Caroline Bowen, from Pentre-Cwrt in Carmarthenshire, said: “It is ridiculous prices in Carmarthen. You could even pay to go to Swansea and watch it cheaper."

In south Wales, Vue has cinemas in Carmarthen, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Cwmbran and Cardiff. Its only other Welsh cinema is in Rhyl, Denbighshire.

A campaign group has compared ticket prices for Vue cinemas across south Wales and found that the cost for two adults and two children to see a film on Saturday was at least £11.20 more expensive in Carmarthen.

Parents are organising a boycott Credit: Paul Quayle/ALAMY

This week  Vue Cardiff was selling the tickets for £19, which is £15.16 cheaper than the £34.16 Carmarthen Vue was charging.

"We love going to the cinema and we are fully on supporting the cinema, but we are not paying double the price to go there, we can't afford it," Ms Bowen told the BBC .

"If they lowered their prices, they would get a lot more people going to the cinema and supporting them."

Ms Bowen believes the cinema has higher prices in Carmarthen because there is not as much competition.

"It is not fair and we are all realising now that all the prices are going up and up and up, and it is not acceptable," she added.

A Vue spokesperson said: "Vue Carmarthen customers can take advantage of premium big screen entertainment at discounted prices with Super Monday ticket prices at £3.99, Mini Mornings for £2.49, two cinema tickets for the price of one every Tuesday and Wednesday with Meerkat Movies, and Senior Screenings for £3.99."

Ms Bowen added: “Parents are at work and they want to go in the evenings, on Saturdays and Sundays but there is never any deals on at those times. I understand the weekend is their most popular time but paying double everyone else? That's absolutely crazy."

The price difference is so extreme that for a cinema-goer between 16 and 25, with a Young Person’s Railcard, it would be cheaper to take a 130-mile round trip on the train to Cardiff than to go to their local screen in Carmarthen.