January 19 is National Popcorn Day – Will You Be Popping?

Since we’re dedicated to movies on this website, we would be remiss if we never mentioned National Popcorn Day which takes place today, January 19.

Naturally, the movie chain Cinemark is celebrating with a promotion.

From Monday, January 18 to Sunday, January 24, guests will receive $2 off any size popcorn at all Cinemark theaters serving concessions. In addition to the week-long deal, Cinemark is celebrating the start of 2021 by giving 21 Cinemark moviegoers free popcorn for a year.

Moviegoers can celebrate National Popcorn Day with week-long deal

We’ve certainly talked about popcorn here and there (see: Collectible Popcorn Buckets and Soda¬†Combos and 788% Profit on Movie Theater¬†Popcorn)

Hopefully 2021 will be the last year in our area on January 19th that we are unable to visit a movie theater, buy some popcorn from the concession stand, and watch a movie. In lieu of this, I’ll be sure to hit up some microwave popcorn.

What about you? Will you be eating some popcorn today?

When Regal Cinemas Reopen “Temporarily” No FREE Refills for Large Popcorn and Soda

You might have heard me gasp when I realized that one of the safety requirements when Regal Cinemas — IF — reopens on August 21 as planned is that they will not be offering refills on large popcorn and soda.

They also will require electronic ticket purchasing. In the past there has been a 50 cent “convenience fee” for that payment method. A little curious if that will be waived or still in tact.

Bolding below is mine.

Face masks will be required of guests in lobbies, hallways, restrooms and in auditoriums when not eating or drinking. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be posted at entrances. Vending machines and water fountains will not be available for use. When it comes to concessions, the menu will be limited, and self-service condiment stations will be closed. Refills on large drinks and popcorn will be temporarily suspended, and every other register will be closed.

Here’s what the moviegoing experience will look like when Regal theaters reopen this summer – ABC13 Houston

Now you might be thinking: big deal, who needs that much popcorn? Consider this, if you’re paying $15 for large popcorn and soda — and that’s what it cost roughly before the pandemic, the free refill essentially cut the price in half. When we watched multiple movies, we’d buy the large and get the free refill for the second movie. Now, it sounds like we will either be foregoing popcorn on the second film or dropping another 15+ bones, if that’s the cost when they reopen.

Wonder if the cost of the popcorn and soda will be reduced?

As previously reported (see: Regal Cinemas Switching From Coca Cola to Pepsi Products in Spring 2020 Causes Some Soda Fan Unrest), the soda brand has changed from Coca Cola in Regal to Pepsi. Not sure how many will still care about this brand change (we don’t).

Just having theaters open to go watch any movies will be good news. Still not very comfident they will reopen as scheduled.

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.