Rules for Selling Movie Tickets

by Daniel Westlake; Updated September 26, 2017
Movie tickets can be bought in a number of different ways.

Movies make a lot of money from ticket sales every year, and movie studios and distributors try a wide variety of ways to entice people to buy tickets and see films they've purchased or produced. Rules apply regarding to whom movie tickets can be sold at theaters, and who can sell movie tickets in general.

Authorized Vendors

Vendors must be approved by the distributors of a movie to sell tickets to see it. When a film plays in a certain theater or theater chain, a deal is signed between the distributor of the film and the theater company. They are the only ones allowed to sell tickets to that film in their theater within a certain region. The only exception is online companies, which sign deals with movie theaters and distributors to sell tickets. These companies, including movietickets.com or fandango.com, work with most distributors and major theater chains, charging them a fee to allow people the convenience of buying tickets online.

Age Restrictions

There have been rules in place for a long while restricting people under a certain age from seeing certain films. Movie theatres are supposed to enforce these restrictions. Anyone can attend a film rated "G." "PG" means portions of the film may be unsuitable for some preteens. Parents should review the material. "PG-13" warns parents that the material in a film may be highly unsuitable for children younger than 13. An "R" rating substantially raises the restrictive bar. Children under 17 should not attend a film with this rating unless a parent or guardian accompanies them. "NC-17" means no one under 17 should attend the film.

Scalping Movie Tickets

Certain people try to scalp movie tickets to make extra money during opening weekends of films for which people would otherwise need to stand in line. In 11 states, however, scalping is illegal, though these states do allow tickets to be resold with a price cap on markup. Scalping movie tickets didn't really make sense in the past, when it was first come first serve for seating and multiple shows per day. However, with more and more movie theaters offering assigned seating and premium seats for specific events, movie ticket scalping may increase.

About the Author

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Daniel Westlake has written under pen names for a myriad of publications all over the nation, ranging from national magazines to local papers. He now lives in Los Angeles, Calif. but regularly travels around the country and abroad, exploring and experiencing everything he can.

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