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Movies: “Lawrence of Arabia”

Sept. 17, 1962 - Motion-picture admission prices will reach a high in December when “Lawrence of Arabia” opens at New York’s Criterion Theatre. Loge seats for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night performances will sell for $4.80, with $3.80 for orchestra reservations. This is believed to be the highest admission ever charged for regularly scheduled performances of a film. It compares to the $2.50 currently charged for tickets to successful films at many of the large Broadway theaters. Although admission prices have risen steadily over the years, the $3.50 top for reserved-seat attractions has been standard over the last decade for such films as “Ben-Hur” and “Around the World in 80 Days.” The reason for the price range for “Lawrence of Arabia” is simple enough. Advisers to producer Sam Spiegel and Columbia, the distributor, are convinced the public will be willing to pay it. Twentieth Century-Fox has been contemplating admission prices of $5 or even $10 for next year’s “Cleopatra.” As the film is the most expensive ever made, with a reported cost of more than $30 million, it will need to become one of the three or four highest grossing films in motion-picture history to break even.

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