How Much Do Movie Theaters Pay Per Hour In 2023?

Going to the movies is one of America’s favorite pastimes. In fact, over 1.3 billion movie tickets were sold in the U.S. and Canada in 2019 alone. But have you ever wondered how much the people working behind the scenes at movie theaters get paid?

If you’re looking to score a part-time job at your local cineplex, you probably want to know what you can expect to earn per hour.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Movie theater employees typically earn $9 to $15 per hour, depending on the role, experience, and location.

In this detailed guide, we’ll break down typical hourly wages for various movie theater jobs, including concession stand workers, ticket takers, ushers, projectionists, and managers. We’ll also explore factors that impact earnings, like location and theater chain.

And we’ll provide tips for scoring better pay at your cinema gig.

Hourly Pay Rates for Entry-Level Positions

Working at a movie theater can be an exciting and dynamic job, especially for those who love movies and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. If you’re considering a job at a movie theater, you might be wondering how much they pay per hour.

Let’s take a look at the hourly pay rates for three common entry-level positions: Concession Stand Worker, Ticket Taker, and Usher.

Concession Stand Worker

One of the most popular positions at a movie theater is that of a concession stand worker. These employees are responsible for taking orders, preparing food and drinks, and providing excellent customer service.

The average hourly pay rate for a concession stand worker in 2023 is around $10.50 to $12.50 per hour. However, this can vary depending on factors such as location, level of experience, and the specific movie theater chain.

It’s important to note that some movie theaters offer additional incentives to their concession stand workers, such as free movie tickets or discounts on concessions. These perks can make the job even more enjoyable and rewarding.

Ticket Taker

The role of a ticket taker is to greet moviegoers, scan or tear tickets, and assist with directing them to the correct theater. This position requires excellent customer service skills and the ability to handle large crowds efficiently.

The average hourly pay rate for a ticket taker in 2023 is approximately $9.50 to $11.50 per hour. Again, this can vary depending on various factors.

Working as a ticket taker can be a great way to interact with moviegoers and be part of the overall movie theater experience. Plus, you might even get a chance to catch a glimpse of your favorite celebrities attending movie premieres!


Ushers play a crucial role in ensuring that moviegoers have a pleasant experience from the moment they step into the theater. They help with seating arrangements, assist customers with any inquiries, and ensure that the theater is clean and ready for each screening.

The average hourly pay rate for an usher in 2023 is typically between $9.00 and $11.00 per hour.

Being an usher can be a rewarding job for those who enjoy interacting with people and have a keen eye for detail. You’ll have the opportunity to be part of the behind-the-scenes operations and contribute to creating a positive movie-watching environment.

It’s important to keep in mind that these hourly pay rates are approximate and can vary based on factors such as location, experience, and the specific movie theater chain. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to check with local movie theaters or job listings for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding pay rates.

Pay for Advanced Roles


Being a projectionist is a crucial role in a movie theater. They are responsible for operating and maintaining the projection equipment to ensure a seamless movie-watching experience for the audience. In 2023, projectionists can expect to earn an average hourly wage of around $15 to $20, depending on their level of experience and the location of the theater.

However, it’s important to note that this figure may vary and is subject to change based on factors such as the size of the theater, the region, and the specific job requirements.

Assistant Manager

Assistant managers play a vital role in overseeing the day-to-day operations of a movie theater. They assist the general manager in various tasks, including managing staff, handling customer inquiries, and ensuring the smooth running of screenings.

The average hourly pay for assistant managers in movie theaters is typically higher than that of projectionists, ranging from $18 to $25 per hour. However, this can vary depending on factors such as the theater’s size, location, and the level of responsibility assigned to the assistant manager.

General Manager

The general manager is responsible for the overall management and success of the movie theater. They oversee all aspects of operations, including staffing, scheduling, budgeting, and ensuring an exceptional movie-going experience for customers.

General managers in movie theaters can expect to earn a higher hourly wage compared to projectionists and assistant managers, typically ranging from $25 to $35 per hour. However, it’s important to note that this figure can fluctuate based on factors such as the theater’s location, size, and the individual’s level of experience and expertise.

It’s worth mentioning that the wages mentioned above are estimates and can vary based on several factors. To get accurate and up-to-date information on the pay rates for movie theater roles in 2023, it is recommended to consult reliable sources such as industry reports, labor market data, or official websites of movie theater chains.

Websites like or can provide valuable insights into current pay trends and salary ranges in the movie theater industry.

Location and Theater Chain Impacts on Pay

When it comes to the wages paid in movie theaters, several factors come into play. One of the most significant factors is the location of the theater. Urban theaters tend to pay higher wages compared to their rural counterparts. This is mainly due to the higher cost of living in urban areas.

Movie theaters in cities have higher operating costs, and they need to offer competitive wages to attract and retain employees.

Urban vs. Rural Theaters

In urban areas, movie theaters often have a higher volume of customers, allowing them to generate more revenue. As a result, they can afford to pay their employees more. Additionally, urban theaters are more likely to be located in busy shopping districts or entertainment hubs, which can lead to higher ticket prices and increased revenue.

These factors contribute to higher wages for employees working in urban theaters.

On the other hand, rural theaters typically have a smaller customer base and lower ticket prices. As a result, their revenue may be limited, making it challenging to offer higher wages. However, it’s important to note that the cost of living in rural areas is generally lower, which can offset the lower wages.

Pay at Top Chains Like AMC and Regal

Another crucial factor that influences pay rates in movie theaters is the theater chain itself. Top chains like AMC and Regal Cinema often have standardized pay scales based on job roles and experience.

These chains can afford to offer competitive wages due to their strong financial positions and large customer base.

AMC, for example, has implemented a tiered pay scale that considers factors such as location, job title, and experience. Entry-level positions may start at a lower hourly wage, but opportunities for advancement and increased pay are available for dedicated employees.

Similarly, Regal Cinema offers competitive wages and benefits to attract and retain talented individuals.

It’s important to note that wages in movie theaters can vary even within the same chain. Factors such as the local labor market, competition, and demand for skilled workers can influence pay rates at individual theater locations.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to research and compare wages at specific theaters before applying for a job.

For more information on wages in the movie theater industry, you can visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, where you can find data on average hourly wages and employment trends.

Tips for Earning More as a Movie Theater Employee

Working at a movie theater can be a fun and exciting job, but it’s also important to make sure you’re earning a fair wage. Here are some tips for earning more as a movie theater employee:

Ask for Raises Once You Gain Experience

One of the best ways to increase your earnings as a movie theater employee is to ask for a raise once you’ve gained some experience. As you become more familiar with the operations of the theater and prove your value to the team, it’s reasonable to request a higher hourly wage.

Keep track of your accomplishments and be prepared to discuss how you’ve contributed to the success of the theater. Remember, the worst they can say is no, and you might be pleasantly surprised with a pay increase!

Pick Up Extra Shifts

If you’re looking to boost your earnings, consider picking up extra shifts at the movie theater. Many theaters offer opportunities for employees to take on additional hours, especially during busy periods like weekends or holidays.

By volunteering for extra shifts, not only will you increase your paycheck, but you’ll also show your dedication and commitment to the job. Plus, who knows, you might even get to watch a movie or two during your breaks!

Learn New Skills and Take on Additional Duties

Another way to increase your earning potential as a movie theater employee is to learn new skills and take on additional duties. For example, you could ask to be trained on operating the projection equipment or handling concessions.

The more skills you acquire, the more valuable you become to the theater, and this could lead to opportunities for promotions or higher-paying positions. Don’t be afraid to take initiative and show your willingness to learn and grow within the company.

Remember, earning more as a movie theater employee is possible with a proactive approach. By gaining experience, asking for raises, picking up extra shifts, and learning new skills, you’ll be on your way to increasing your earning potential in no time!


Working at a movie theater can be a fun gig, especially for film buffs. But like any job, you probably care about getting paid fairly for your time and work. As we’ve shown, hourly pay at cinemas typically falls between $9 and $15, depending on your role, experience, theater location, and chain.

By knowing what to expect pay-wise, asking for raises once you gain experience, and being willing to take on extra duties, you can earn towards the higher end of the pay scale. And you’ll be rewarded in free movies and popcorn for all your hard work behind the silver screen.

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