Silly Service Fees From Cinemark

I recently sent off this note to Cinemark Holdings Inc., the corporation that operates Cinemark Tinseltown here in Vancouver, along with nearly 5000 other theatres in North and Central America.

To whom it may concern,

This weekend, I planned to attend a movie at your Vancouver cinema, Cinemark Tinseltown, with three of my friends. Wanting to ensure that we got tickets, I planned to purchase them on your website. During this process, I noticed that Cinemark charges a $1.00 service charge per ticket when I buy them online.

At a $12 ticket price, that works out to an 8% premium. This surprised me, as it surely costs your organization much less money to sell me an online ticket–you incur no staffing or printing costs–than to sell me one in person. In an ideal world, all of your patrons would buy their tickets at home. Why, then, are you charging me extra to make your life easier?

Your ludicrous service fee convinced my friends and I to attend a film at a Cineplex theatre instead. They charge no service fees for online ticket purchases. I was delighted to give them my money. Can you guess where I’ll spend my movie-going dollars in the future?


  1. The fee exists because they’ve likely hired another company to manage online sales. That company likely charges a service fee for each ticket. Rather than absorb the cost and make less on each ticket they pass their outsourcing cost to you. That said, you’re right, it’s ridiculous and if the competitions not doing it then hopefully they’ll take a cue from that. A few years ago everyone charged a service fee for online tickets. I’ll be interested if/when you get a response.

    More ridiculous is TicketMasters insistence on mailing you tickets at no cost but charging you to print it on your own computer. No only do they save on paper and person-hours with print at home but they save on postage. It makes no sense to me.

  2. I second the motion about Ticketmaster’s ridiculous DIY charges. Actually, all their service charges are obscene.

  3. Cineplex must have changed their no-service charge policy recently. On the 29th when I looked on their website, they had a service charge to purchase online.

    Also, it seems that Cinemark shows films that are for a different type of people than Cineplex.

    1. Cineplex has always charged a service charge to buy their movie tickets online.

      Now they just add it to the ticket price.

      Buy a general Cineplex 3D IMAX ticket at the theatre = 14.99. Buy the same ticket at their website = 16.99.

  4. I feel your pain. I’ve just finished reading “But wait … there’s more!” which has several paras on pricing and, basically, shipping and handling is just another profit stream … nothing to do with the costs of actually doing the shipping and handling.

    It’s the same thing with renewing drivers licences in Ontario. Go to the MTO office, and you pay the standard fees. Go to a terminal and you pay the standard fees plus a “convenience fee”. I *know* it’s more convenient for them, I resent paying for it!

  5. Agree. Outsourced or no, I don’t appreciate this kind of cash-grab. I will be interested in hearing if you receive a response!

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