Cineplex now charges extra $1.50 for the privilege of buying tickets online

The company says the change has been implemented to “further invest and evolve our digital infrastructure"

Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder. The two are standing close to one another with a bright purple light behind them.

Cineplex has quietly introduced a $1.50 CAD booking fee for tickets purchased online and through its mobile app.

The Globe and Mail reports that the change was made earlier this month, although it doesn’t appear that the company had made any announcement about it. Instead, Twitter users have spotted the fee over the past few days and Cineplex has only responded to them directly. It doesn’t seem as though emails were sent out to notify customers of the change, either.

The fee will not apply to tickets bought in-theatre, while those who are members of the free Cineplex Scene+ loyalty program will pay $1 per online ticket. That said, members of CineClub — Cineplex’s recently launched $9.99 CAD/month service which offers free tickets and discounts — will have the fee waived entirely.

In a statement to the Globe, Cineplex said this charge has been implemented to “further invest and evolve our digital infrastructure.” The theatre chain didn’t elaborate on what this actually means, simply stating that online booking fees “have been in place for many years with our exhibition counterparts globally” and are common among ticketed events for sports, concerts and more.

While this fee doesn’t contradict Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob’s comments last month about “not rushing” to increase ticket sales, it nonetheless likely comes as an unpleasant surprise for consumers, especially given the vague reasoning behind it. Many people enjoy purchasing tickets ahead of time to reserve seating, especially for big blockbusters, so this fee is certainly unsavory.

It also comes right as Canada is preparing to enter its first proper summer movie season since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the major upcoming releases include Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 1st), Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8th), Nope (July 22nd), DC League of Super-Pets (July 29th) and Bullet Train (August 5th).

Landmark, Canada’s second-largest theatre chain, told The Globe that it’s “evaluating the impact” of Cineplex’s new fee to determine what’s “best for our business.”

Image credit: Marvel Studios

Source: The Globe and Mail