The cost of catching a movie overseas on Army and Air Force installations is about to go up.

For the first time in a decade, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is increasing the price of admission in its overseas Reel Time Theaters — bumping ticket charges by 50 cents for adults and a quarter for children ages 6-11.

The change, which will be applied to first-run blockbusters, regular releases and repeat showings, takes effect Friday, said Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Glenn, a spokeswoman at AAFES Pacific Region headquarters on Okinawa.

“We’ve held prices in check for the last 10 years,” she said, “but increases in business expenses forced us to raise prices marginally.”

Rising business expenditures at the theaters over the past decade have been absorbed by local exchanges, AAFES officials said. That’s led to operating losses at many locations.

Glenn dismissed speculation that the price hike was implemented to enhance funding for the global war on terrorism, saying she had no knowledge of any such arrangement.

Beginning Friday, patrons at overseas Army and Air Force theaters must pay the following admission rates:

First-run movies — $4 for adults and $2 for childrenRegular releases — $3.50 for adults and $1.75 for childrenRepeat showings — $3 for adults and $1.50 for childrenCompared to commercial theaters in the United States, Glenn said, the prices remain pretty friendly.

“AAFES Reel Time Theaters are still the best entertainment bargain out there,” she said. “We’re still better than anything else.”

According to the National Association of Theater Owners Web site, the average cost of a movie ticket in 2003 was $6.03. The AAFES adjusted prices are more than 33 percent below that figure, Glenn said.

The increases won’t affect AAFES theaters on Army installations in South Korea or deployed sites in the Balkans and Southwest Asia, she added. Those facilities have special memorandums of agreement in place, with troops getting the movies for free. The cost is picked up by Morale, Welfare and Recreation detachments.

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