War costs prompt end to free movies at Iwakuni, other bases
Continuing costs of fighting the war on terror have prompted an end to free movies for Marines.
The 10 remaining Marine Corps movie theaters worldwide offering free movies, including the Sakura Theater at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station in Japan, have been ordered by Marine Corps Headquarters to begin charging, said Ashleigh Pipes, marketing director for Iwakuni’s Marine Corps Community Services.
Moviegoers headed to the Sakura must start buying tickets beginning Friday — $2.50 each for those ages 10 and older; $1 for children ages 9 and younger.
“The move is from Marine Corps headquarters and applies to everyone. No one here made the decision. All we decided here was the price, and the command approved the lowest price we recommended,” Pipes said Monday.
She said the Corps’s decision to charge for movies is part of the service’s ongoing efforts to help pay costs of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ticket cost also results from a new policy requiring recreation activities to generate a 4 percent net operating profit, she said.
An MCCS goal, Pipes said, is to continue to offer such services at 25 percent less than local commercial and municipal sources.
The Army and Air Force Exchanges Services show Marine Corps movies in Okinawa. Pipes said movies in Iwakuni are the only ones shown in Japan by MCCS.
Twenty theaters are operated on Marine Corps installations worldwide. Of those, AAFES operates six and MCCS 14, Pipes explained. For first-run movies, AAFES charges $3.50 for adults and $1.75 for children and, for other films, $3 and $1 respectively. Four of the MCCS theaters already were charging admission, Pipes said: from $1 to $3 for adults and $1 to $1.50 for children. The other 10 movie theaters have been free, until now.
All ticket prices apply to civilian employees as well as servicemembers.
In the past, Marine Corps installation commanders determined whether charges would be levied for MCCS activities and what they’d be. The new policy allows installation commanders still to set the final charge, up to a maximum of $3, Pipes said.
“MCAS Iwakuni base personnel and family members will still be able to enjoy other free services for which there is admission on other Marine Corps bases,” Pipes said. “The swimming pools, fitness classes and most special events and entertainment, such as the monthly Comedy Showcase, will remain free.”