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Movie Theater Snacks

The family is out of town, so decided to go to a movie this afternoon. Hadn't had lunch, so bought a "small" popcorn and a "small" coke. $10.50 (my ticket was $7.50.) Enough popcorn and pop for 4 people. Granted, I haven't bought food in a movie theater in decades, but I was quite taken aback. Is this really considered something to be eaten by one person?

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  1. Wow! I don't know where you live or what you consider a "portion", but around here movie theatre size "small" is not only "small", it's absolutely miniscule. The only thing that's NOT small is the price!

    Hubby & I will usually share a "medium" popcorn (think along the lines of 2-3 small handfuls of popcorn), & even though neither one of us has large appetites - particularly for snack foods - even that is usually gone before the main attraction starts. But we refuse to pay the ridiculous prices they charge for larger sizes of popcorn, so we make that work for us. And $10.50 for one small popcorn AND a small Coke? Peanuts - you got off easy, especially if the portions seemed "oversized" to you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bacardi1

      I'm in Bloomington, Indiana, and the "small" popcorn was about a quart, the the "small" coke was about 24 ounces.

    2. Once, on NPR, I heard someone saw that the big thwarted pretty much only show movies as a way to get people in the door to buy the popcorn and other snacks.

      6 Replies
      1. re: calliope_nh

        I believe it, and I also believe that movie theaters are going to be a thing of the past in 10 years or less.

        1. re: pikawicca

          Seriously. $40.25 for tickets and popcorn for two on Sunday afternoon, plus a crushed foot courtesy of a very large man and the calming twinkle of smart phone screens all during the movie. I'm out.

          1. re: Samalicious

            Costco sells AMC unrestricted Gold Passes for $6-$6.50 regularly. So my wife and I can easily do a Saturday night movie out for about $25.

          2. re: pikawicca

            Naw, if movie theaters were going away it would have started to happen already. While I am not a frequent movie goer, the 'shared' experience is something that will keep them around. Movie theaters are thriving, this summer will make it a big year for theaters and the film business.

          3. re: calliope_nh

            The first six weeks or so of 'big' films the owner of the movie gets 100% of the ticket price and the theater only makes money off concessions. As time goes by the theater owner gets an increasing percentage of the price of the ticket. That's why some movies stay in the theaters for a very long time, because people are still buying tickets, even if ticket sales are nowhere near what they were early in the run the theater still makes more money because they are finally able to keep some of the price of the ticket sales. People that attend a lot of movies have probably seen someone standing around the area where the tickets are taken and torn in half. They are counting people going in so they know the movie producers are not being shorted on ticket sales.

          4. It's one of the reasons I feel absolutely no qualms about bringing in a can of ginger ale and a quart-baggie of stove-popped popcorn to the theater. Not only can I not begin to afford the prices they charge, I also don't want to throw my hard-earned money away on a portion size that's three times what I ought to be eating. Whether I pig out on the whole thing, mindlessly munching, or throw 2/3 of it away, it's not how I choose to spend my cash OR my calories.

            2 Replies
            1. re: LauraGrace

              Some have called taking your own "cheating" or somehow "stealing" when I have spoken of it in the past. I no longer go to theatres, but when I did, I ALWAYS took my own popcorn because I would never willingly ingest the chemical crap they call popcorn.

              1. re: LauraGrace

                This is a little OT, but that reminds me of my dad's tales of the "good old days" when his parents would send him off to the local theatre on early Sat. afternoons with some loose change, & with that loose change he'd be able to buy himself a sack of burgers & a couple of soft drinsk & then enjoy a full day of cinema, including cartoons & shorts, newsreels, the latest 2 "serial" chapters, & then 1 or 2 main features.

              2. The high prices of the snacks is why I carry a large purse and bring my own. When we lived in the Hudson Valley, there were a few drive-ins where we could happily bring our own dinner (think shrimp and cocktail sauce, hero sandwiches and other lovely items, plus a bottle of wine or a beer) and see two films in comfort for the price of one. Unfortunately, there are no drive-ins where we are now.

                7 Replies
                1. re: mrsbuffer

                  A little OT, but your post made me think of one of our best family Thanksgivings ever. Both parents decided they didn't want to deal with the hassle of hosting or choosing where to go, so they loaded us kids into the car with turkey sandwiches and sodas and we spent the evening at the drive-in movie. Awesome.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    One of our extended family's best Christmas dinners was at McDonald's at the airport. We were putting my 12 year old nephew on a plane by himself to see his big sister. It was both spontaneous and stress-free, features rarely seen in a holiday meal.

                  2. re: mrsbuffer

                    We still have one drive-in near us, and they have recently converted to digital fims. We use the tirp as a time to eat junk! We take coolers of drinks (beers, sodas, iced teas, etc...) as well as sandwiches and candy (KitKat and Twizzlers, usually.) But we always hit up the snack bar for a few things, partly for the nostalgia. We usually get a greasy burger or slice of pizza, and some nachos.

                    1. re: Ditdah

                      We have a drive-in in the area (well - about 2 hours away) that we try to visit at least once during the season. Love the fact that we can bring a cooler with our own snacks, sub sandwiches, chips, beverages, etc., etc.

                      1. re: Ditdah

                        I have memories of going to the drive in movie theater when I was quite young. My brothers and I were in pajamas in the backseat of the station wagon. My mother would make a big grocery sack full of popcorn and I suppose we had sodas although I don't remember that part. I think drive ins used to have a lot family friendly movies. I remember there was a little playground near the movie screen. I suppose to entertain the kids until it got dark enough to start the show. Funny thing, I never remember going home at the end of the movie ; )

                        1. re: John E.

                          Me too!! Growing up, we had several drive-in movie theatres to choose from, & most showed family fare, frequently preceeded by some great old "B" horror movie. Kids would be in their jammies, & there would be sandwiches, snacks, & soft drinks in abundance. Fun & (back then) inexpensive Saturday night family outing.

                          1. re: Bacardi1

                            A side note to my story about the drive-in theater in my hometown is the name of the place. It was called the "Gay Drive-In Theater". The long-time resident who owned it was named Gaylord or Gay for short. How times have changed since then.

                    2. I recently refused to spend $6 for a small popcorn. I almost always buy a bag of something at Trade Joes or CVS for 1/3 the price. I go to a theater near Chinatown and could get lunch for that. Moreover, easy to bring lunch in.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: gourmaniac

                        "easy to bring lunch in"

                        This reminds me of going to the very last Harry Potter premiere. Midnight show, zillions of people having a blast waiting in line (in costume) for their theatre to open, and probably every fifth person had brought in a meal or snack from somewhere else -- in fact, we saved seats for the people next to us when they decided to go grab a couple milkshakes from Steak and Shake before the lights went down. The theatre workers were too overwhelmed to care, I think!

                      2. These threads about the price of movie theater food and whether it's OK to bring your own always confound me. The movie experience is a couple of hours, three at most. Is it really that hard to go without eating for that long?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: BobB

                          I tend to agree with you. If I'm not going to eat popcorn, I do like to have me some Twizzlers for the movie experience.

                          1. re: BobB

                            Nobody is saying that it's *hard* to go two hours without eating, it's just that a movie snack is part of the experience of moviegoing for a lot of people, and the prices theaters charge for snacks are, in fact, exorbitant. I mean, it's ok for people to *want* to have popcorn while they watch a movie, right? And it's ok for them to be annoyed at an outrageous price, right, even for a non-essential item? ;)

                            1. re: BobB

                              Either/or, but for me, snacks are part of the whole goin'-to-a-flick gestalt.

                              1. re: mamachef

                                I agree. Who wants to sit there like they're watching an educational film at school or something - lol!

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  A few years ago when the recession hit, maybe 2009, our local theater had BYOB on Tuesdays. They would fill your bucket from home, like an ice cream bucket, for $.50. We actually went to more movies that year than we usually do. Now they have a buck that you buy for $15 and can fill it as many times as you wish to for the entire year for $2.50 each time. Of course it's a better deal if the bucket is purchased in January instead of June. We bought one last year but still have not this year. If you go to more than three movies and buy popcorn each time it's still worth it. We would never attempt to sneak popcorn in but I do occasionally bring in some Twizzlers and a bottle of soda or water.