The Toronto International Film Festival is more than a week away, but tickets for some films are already being resold at significantly higher prices.
Tickets for screenings at the festival, which runs from Sept. 7 to 17, have been met with high demand through the festival’s formal vendor Ticketmaster, which has led to a resale market where some single tickets are selling for more than $1,000.
Tickets for the premiere of Dumb Money, a biographical comedy that chronicles the 2021 GameStop short squeeze and features high-profile stars like Pete Davidson, America Ferrera and Seth Rogen are currently being resold on StubHub for upwards of $1,300.
Tickets for the film are currently “sold out” on Ticketmaster.
Tickets for Next Goal Wins, the Taika Waititi-directed comedy featuring Michael Fassbender and Elisabeth Moss about the American Samoa soccer team’s attempt to make a World Cup, are also being resold for $416.50 on Ticketmaster.
It’s a shame corrupt Ticketmaster is in charge of TIFF tickets. #tiff #tiff2023 They blocked me out of “presale” for the past week stating no availability. Now they are reselling film tickets for “Next Goal Wins” for over $416 each. This should not be tolerated in film or music pic.twitter.com/T3Mfadrl46
People are taking notice, and they’re not happy.
“Ticketmaster is a scourge,” reads one post on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, from writer and filmmaker Siddhant Adlakha.
Ticketmaster is a scourge and using it as an official ticketing platform for a film festival is incredibly bizarre. It’s genuinely insane that people are allowed to buy and re-sell TIFF tickets pretty much the day they go on sale. The new Miyazaki is going for over $300 US
Ticket reselling has become a recurring issue. Ticketmaster came under firing earlier this month for its handling of tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.
Challenge of preventing scalping
Pascal Courty, an economics professor at the University of Victoria, says the issue is being able to ensure that fans are the ones who get tickets without people scooping them up to resell at inflated prices.
“Some people will try to slide in, and they don’t want to go to the concert, but they realize that they can buy low and sell high,” he said in an interview with CBC News earlier this month. “That’s another reason why there would be massive demand and it would be hard to manage.”
Courty says he thinks Ticketmaster’s verified fan program, a process designed to manage demand, filter bots and avoid high-priced tickets, likely helps prevent some of those people “from just grabbing money.” But he also noted that other methods could completely eliminate scalping.
Courty says one way to deter it is to make tickets nominative, like airline tickets, where people have to declare a name at the time of purchase.
“In the event something happens to you, you can’t show up anymore at the last minute, you give the ticket back,” he said, noting that in that scenario, someone new would be drawn from a virtual line, and people could access the venue only if they had a ticket and matching ID.
“That system would completely prevent resale for profits because there’s no way for this third party to slide in,” Courty said, since they would only be able to transfer tickets back to the primary seller.
Neither TIFF or Ticketmaster responded to CBC News’s requests for comment.