The Real Cost Of Our Favorite Movie Proms

Photo: Everett.
Most of my prom was pretty uneventful, but I do remember one moment towards the end where I thought to myself, I hope this isn’t actually the most magical night of my life.

The heightened expectations for prom — or any school dance, really — can be blamed, at least in part, on Hollywood. Just think of all the movie-ending, romance-filled fictional dances we’ve grown up with. They’ve been some of the biggest scenes in movies from It’s A Wonderful Life (class of 1928) to Twilight (2008). So, what has changed in 80 years of teenage mating rituals?

The cost, for one. In a recent study, coupon site Ebates looked at the changing cost of prom in some of our favorite movies. Spoiler alert: It’s gotten expensive — way more expensive. Back in 1928, a prom ticket would cost around $16. By 2008, when Bella and Edward danced at the Forks High School senior prom, a ticket would be around $200. That’s up $50 from 1999, when some of our all-time favorite prom movies were made: 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s All That, Never Been Kissed, and American Pie. By 2004, when Mean Girls was released, prom tickets cost an average of $173.

A surprise number of these pricey proms actually took place in the gym, which would presumably be free for the prom-planning committee. Of the 16 dances and proms Ebates profiled, 11 (including Mean Girls, Back To The Future, and Napoleon Dynamite) took place in the school gym.

For the five that took place off campus, the cost of renting some of the venues alone could account for high ticket prices. The ritzy Ebell Club of Los Angeles, scene of the prom in Never Been Kissed, costs $30,000 for an evening. The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Pretty In Pink costs nearly that much, at $28,354.

But the most expensive prom of all time? Even without adjusting for inflation, that prize easily goes to She’s All That. If you wanted the real-life Usher to spin tunes at your high school prom, you’d need to fork over around $150,000 for the honor.
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