788% Profit on Movie Theater Popcorn

$15.51 for large popcorn and large soda after 10% discount on 9/8/2019

Only 1 of the 12 movies I attended at the theater in August 2019 did I not buy popcorn and soda. I just love eating that crunchy, buttery goodness and enjoy the soda to wash it down. My wife and I prefer to get two straws and share a large Sprite when we attend together, but I will alternate between Coca Cola and Sprite. Sometimes I’ll spring for Cherry Coca Cola. It really isn’t an option for us not buying it, even if it cost more.

Most everybody realizes that concessions are the business model that keep the theaters operating. This excellent article: Why Is Movie Theater Popcorn So Outrageously Expensive? delves far deeper into the analytics of concession stand pricing and profitability. That article is also the source of the headline of this post.

Most of the movies we saw last month were in mostly empty theaters. IT: Chapter Two, seen on a Friday night — one of the busiest times — was about 75% full. Yesterday, I went and saw The Art of Racing In the Rain at the opening 11 am showing. There were two other people in the theater besides me. Yes, they also bought popcorn and soda.

It isn’t the concessions pricing that have kept me away from watching more movies at the theater, it is the price of the movies. Last year, paying full movie pricing, I still watched over 30 movies for the year. That is way more than the average movie theater attendee, per the article:

“Less than 10% of the US population goes to the movies, compared to 65% in 1930. And those who do go are attending less. In 2018, the average moviegoer paid for only 3.5 tickets, down from 4.9 tickets in 2002.”

Thank goodness for unlimited movie programs like the Regal Unlimited, because this, depending on my other life schedule, will enable me to see just about everything new that comes out every month. I would only have seen 3 or 4 of the 12 movies I saw last month if I didn’t have the Regal Unlimited movie plan.

If I have to pay full price, I will only go and see the movies that I’m looking forward to seeing (like Terminator: Dark Fate). I pay much more attention to the movie info, trailers and reviews from others before reaching for my debit card. This means I would be less likely to take a chance on outstanding movies like The Peanut Butter Falcon, our favorite movie last month and yesterday’s movie, The Art of Racing In The Rain which so far is my favorite movie I’ve seen this month (yes, it’s way early still). I’m looking forward to seeing several more movies this month, including Rambo: Last Blood, the Judy Garland biopic Judy staring Renee Zellweger and several more.

Bottom line: I am OK with the expensive concession prices. Yes, there is likely a pricing limit of which would discourage me from buying concessions at the movies. It’s not much more than what is currently being charged, but feel like with the unlimited movie plan, I’m able to spend on more concessions. From the picture above, the only money I spent yesterday at the theater was on the concessions (technically, I did pay something for the ticket price, as it was a fraction of the $22/month for the Regal Unlimited Plan).

Later this month, we’re going to be in Las Vegas staying at a hotel casino with a Regal theater on site. I think they have the dinner concession option. We’ll likely partake in that. I’m certain the prices will be more than eating at the midnight buffet. We’re OK with that.

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