I received a holiday gift card from my employer. It was either the dollars or a ham but you cannot turn a ham into a visit to Middle Earth and that is what I did with my greatly appreciated gift - I went to see The Hobbit. Though I have been inwardly wincing over the cost of admission to the new movies, I have decided to consider the ticket price as a personal donation to one of the greatest art forms the world has produced so far.
Of course, Peter Jackson is only filming characters channeled by an author a long time ago. No modern film character will ever have the staying power of characters who came to earth through the printed page. A cynic might say our admission price also goes to make actors rich. That is fine with me, too. Imagine how dreadful it would be if the beloved characters were portrayed by inept actors! (Remember Brad Pitt as Louie in Interview With The Vampire? He ruined the movie with his dismal lack of skill, though he certainly looked good while doing so.)
One can also argue that a $5 plastic cup of carbonated corn syrup and carcinogens is a big rip off. But consider the number of teenagers entering the workforce via movie theaters. It offers a safe and fairly pleasant place to begin their participation in the American system of capitalism.
Then you have to consider what the cost of the ticket gives you, how utterly enchanting it is to visit in full technicolor splendor the Shire and Rivendale. When the Lady Galadriel made her film appearance as the guardian of Middle Earth, I BELIEVED. She appeared exactly as an Elven queen of great wisdom and powerful magic. If Gaia herself were to incarnate, she would be no more breathtaking.
I am saying it is a win-win-win-win situation. Movies are worth the price of admission to Middle Earth... or into space... or war.... or back in time... or to hell... or wherever else we can imagine.