Yep, concession stands at movie theaters are a rip off.
Yep, concession stands at movie theaters are a rip off.

Passing on the pricey movie snacks

I love going to the movies. Sure, I watch them at home, but nothing beats a night out, a dark theater and a great movie.

Last weekend I went to the Downer Theatre to see My Week With Marilyn. The movie was wonderful and if Michelle Williams doesn't get nominated for an Oscar, then there's something wrong with this world.

But I'm not writing about the movie today. I'm writing about the concessions.

Normally, I'm a junior drink and maybe some nachos kind of guy. Sometimes a little popcorn. Sometimes a cup of coffee. But many times I don't have anything.

At the movie this weekend I had a bit of a sweet tooth jones going on, so the caramel corn caught my eye. I love caramel corn. When Buddy Squirrel was around they had the best in the world. At the Downer the caramel corn came in a cone shaped cellophane wrapper. It might have been about a soup bowl worth of caramel corn.

And then I looked at the price. $7.50! For a moment I thought it might be a mistake. But I asked the guy and he said no, that was the price.

I staggered away from the counter and just stared straight ahead. I used to be able to get a big old bag of very fresh caramel corn at Buddy Squirrel's for about three bucks.

This was $7.50 for caramel corn that wasn't going to be nearly as fresh. And to top it off, there wasn't that much of it.

And that got me thinking about the price of all the concessions at the movies. They are absolutely ridiculous. Let's say you wanted to make some popcorn at home. Not the microwave stuff but the old fashioned way, in a pot with oil. The corn kernels might cost a quarter or so. The oil another quarter or so. Being fair, let's say the whole thing cost you 75 cents.

For the same amount of popcorn in a theater you might pay three or four dollars. I'd love it if someone would explain to me how come they charge so much for stuff to eat at the movies. I know they've got a captive audience, but gee whiz. This is out of control.

I'd like to set up a stand on the public sidewalk in front of the Downer Theatre (and every other theater where this might work) and sell candy and soda and popcorn for half the price you pay inside. I bet I'd be a millionaire.

Talkbacks

danno | Dec. 16, 2011 at 9:08 a.m. (report)

Sandman, I googled Bijou and found there was a Bijou Theater in Milwaukee in early 1900's? Where was it located? Also, is there a good book on the the old theatre palaces of Milwaukee?

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sandstorm | Dec. 16, 2011 at 7:53 a.m. (report)

absolutely.
pro sports are the problem with the high snack prices at the local Bijou.
watch popcorn prices fall when Braun starts serving his (likely) suspension.

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danno | Dec. 14, 2011 at 10:49 a.m. (report)

I would like to clarify that when I said "How can a family of 4 afford to go to a movie these days when the economy is in such bad shape?" I was not saying the local theater should take the hit. My anger is directed at what I call "talent pay": sports players, actors, producers, lawyers, doctors, etc. This pay has skyrocketed since Nixon took the US off gold peg. It is funny money that bids up these prices but the prices no longer represent real value. That means pay will decrease and prices, deflation. And deflation is not always bad if aggreagate prices are revalued along with wages. But there will be some pain that we already are feeling. Maybe the Braun PEG will be the final straw that sickens people and they revolt against pro sports to start the ball rolling.

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sandstorm | Dec. 14, 2011 at 7:13 a.m. (report)

Dave is too obtuse to realize that even if popcorn and soda were half their price, tickets to movies would then cost $20 a ticket.
Dave, and others, also seem to think its ok to defraud the theater owners and cheat these business people by sneaking in their own snacks.
nice.

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alwaysrocking | Dec. 13, 2011 at 11:26 a.m. (report)

On opening weekend that movie theaters might make 5-10% on the price of a ticket. The movie companies get the rest as the weeks go along the theater gets a larger percentage of the gross. However of course attendance usually drops off each week.

The movie theaters got to make money somewhere and that is at the concession stand!

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