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This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Timothee Chalamet, foreground left, and Austin Butler in a scene from Dune: Part Two.Niko Tavernise/The Associated Press

After two months bereft of any big-budget blockbusters, theatres across the country are preparing for a flood of moviegoers with the highly anticipated release of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two.

Yet some audiences might notice that the cost of watching Timothée Chalamet ride a gigantic sandworm across the desert planet Arrakis is higher than if they had bought a ticket to any other new release, including Bob Marley: One Love and Madame Web. And it has nothing to do with screen format, seating or showtime.

Wendy's may have backtracked on surge pricing, but these industries still use it on the regular

At a number of Cineplex locations, a general admission ticket for Dune: Part Two will cost $1 more this weekend than a ticket for any other title. At the Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Eglinton location in Toronto, for instance, a general admission ticket for the sequel costs $15.25 before taxes or online surcharge. A ticket for the new comedy Drive-Away Dolls – in the same type of cinema, at the same time of day – runs $14.25.

The practice of charging more for different titles is referred to as “dynamic” or “tentpole pricing” – and previously raised hackles this past summer when Cineplex charged more for tickets to Oppenheimer and Barbie than it did other new releases.

“This is a standard industry practice, as anticipated consumer demand is one of the factors considered when determining pricing, as well as, location, a guest’s age, day of the week and others,” Michelle Saba, vice-president of communications for Cineplex, said in a statement. “There are no surprises; the pricing is clear and guests are fully aware of what they are paying when they select their ticket type.”

Cineplex, which as Canada’s leading exhibitor runs more than 1,600 screens across the country, isn’t the only theatre chain to premium-price its Dune: Part Two tickets. Landmark Cinemas, the country’s second-largest theatre operator, also priced some of its tickets for the Villeneuve sequel $1 higher than other titles.

Representatives for Landmark did not immediately respond to The Globe’s request for comment.

The release of Dune: Part Two – which is expected to gross between $70- and $90-million this weekend – arrives as theatres have been desperate for fresh, widely appealing releases. As a result of the effects of last year’s two Hollywood strikes, most major U.S. studios and distributors have had to punt titles to later in the year or 2025, resulting in record-low box office.

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