AMC Theater Chain Bans All Outside Snacks

After reporting a loss in the 2nd quarter of this year, AMC is doing what it can to increase revenue. Since the business model of movie theaters is to give all the ticket sales to the studios and scrape out a living on concessions, that means forcing more patrons to buy snacks–so it’s officially banning any outside food and drink.

(SmartSpending notes that Regal Entertainment already has a similar ban in place.)

Aside from the most common reason for bringing in food, which is that movie concessions are too expensive, there’s also the problem of limited and unhealthy options. To address this, AMC told SmartSpending that “it’s going to offer greater variety. Some of its theaters have French toast and Thai coconut chicken tenders on the menu.”

“AMC theaters ban outside snacks” [SmartSpending] (Thanks to HogwartsAlum!)

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  1. Lear100 says:

    Don’t theaters already ban outside food? I thought this was already the rule.

    • zacox says:

      Yep. Sure do. Most have signs on the front doors. It’s so you will buy that 55-gallon drum of Coke for 3 easy payments of 19.99.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      All the ones in Las Vegas let you bring in your water bottle, on account of them not liking people dying of dehydration and clogging up the aisles. I don’t see that changing.

    • amuro98 says:

      Many theaters already say “no outside food”, but basically, as long as you aren’t being ridiculously obvious about it – like having Pizza Hut deliver to you in the theater – no one’s being paid enough to care.

    • dadelus says:

      I live in AMCs home market. I normally go to their flagship theater there and have brought in bags from local fast food joints. I’ve even had friends order pizza and have it delivered there. It was one of the nice things about AMC. Of course now that same theater has a full restaurant and bar as well as a newly designed self-serve concessions area with TONS of new offerings so I guess I can understand why they would want folks to stop bringing in their own food.

  2. Julia789 says:

    If one is diabetic, I suppose they cannot snack at a movie at all. Everything is loaded with sugar. Even the popcorn is too starchy and can raise blood sugar, depending on the person’s sensitivity. Is the theatre going to sell insulin shots, as well?

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      actually the hardest part for me is the ice. it may be a 32 ounce cup but when they cram it full of ice, i have no idea how much actual soda i am getting so i would have to guess at the insulin.
      which is why i go to a small independent theatre where the movies are $4 and they bring my soda in a bottle with a mug of ice on the side.

      • psiphiorg says:

        Why not just ask for your drink with no ice? Not only do you get a lot more actual beverage, but you also avoid the drink from getting more and more watered down as you go along.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          hehe, yeah, i do ask for it that way. and at every major chain theatre i’ve been to the cashier rings it up, someone else makes it, they put ice in it, and when i say something about it they just give me a blank look and walk away.
          which is actually one of the other reasons i just don’t go to those movie theatres anymore

    • lordargent says:

      Of course they will

      Outside insulin shots are banned.

    • Parapraxis says:

      most theater managers are pretty flexible with the diabetes thing. I’d honestly be more surprised if they DIDN’T let you bring them in.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      I’m a fairly newly diagnosed diabetic myself, and I’m keeping things sorted out on a low-carb diet. What would i bring for myself? Beef jerky? Pork rinds? (Ew to both.)

  3. Smashville says:

    Don’t most theaters already have this policy? That’s why I always sneak it in.

    • treimel says:

      That’s what I always thought.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        Most theaters I am familiar with do officially ban outside food and drink but they don’t really enforce the policy all that much. Most theater employees are teenagers who typically don’t care about the policy that much.

        On a semi-related note, there are many times I either eat before going to a movie or eat when I get home after the movie. I can easily watch a full movie without requiring food.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I can as well, but since movie theater popcorn is addicting I only eat it when I go to the movies. It seems that if I can squirrel away some free popcorn coupons, AMC can’t stop me. I always sneak candy in though because I really don’t feel like I should give them $5 for a small pack of M&Ms.

    • macoan says:

      I’m with you – I could have sworn that most all theaters banned outside snacks.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I third it. I wear my layered coat and hide stuff inside the outside layer. I also plan on looking really excited if someone asks to search me. I could use the attention.

    • masso says:

      Yeah, why did I put a bottle of Coke in the pocket of my jacket and a pack of Pringle in my bag for then?

    • elleeldritch says:

      There are some theaters near me that are in or close to malls that allow outside food inside because of their location. One in particular is inside a huge mall (with lots of traffic) and its position is on the other side of the food court. I’ve been known to take in a box of cheese sticks from TGI Fridays and not have an employee raise an eyebrow at me.

    • Psychicsword says:

      I think it depends on the chain and the location.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Yeah, I’ve always snuck stuff in in coat pockets, backpacks, purse etc. One time we went to a more upscale movie theatre and when I was purchasing tickets a snack baggie fell out of my bag. The sales clerk refused to sell us tickets until I went outside and put the snacks in the car – so we just left.
      Though the theatre we now go to in downtown Boston doesn’t seem to care if you walk in with a stuffed backpack, especially for later shows. I’ve definitely even seen people pull alcohol out of their backpacks before.
      It’s a stupid rule, IMO – ticket prices are already through the roof and theatre snacks are so expensive and junky, if I can’t bring in my own snacks, for most films I’m likely to just stay home and wait for Netflix.

      • ArsonIsFun says:

        haha

        was the upscale theater the one in Framingham? I love that place and I wish they’d open one in Boston :

        I normally go to either the theater in Fenway or the one on the Commons, both of which I tend to bring beer/a pint to. It’s one of the reasons I don’t mind going out to the movies … :)

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:
    • Sunshine1970 says:

      Yeah, they do. Husband & I always sneak it in in coat pockets, or in my purse, etc. We will continue to do so, as well. No ban will stop me (lol)

    • abjaxx says:

      Exactly. I usually buy popcorn, but more often than not I’ll bring my own soda or water, and occasionally smuggle in some candy.

      I can’t see how this in enforceable unless they start instituting searches, and I’ll just take my business elsewhere if that’s the case.

    • mobilene says:

      The theater I worked at in 1985 sure banned outside food and drinks.

    • ArsonIsFun says:

      this

      I assume places like a movie theater, stadium, concert venue, etc are going to have an issue with outside food/drinks …

      I’ve heard a lot of baseball stadiums will let you bring in stuff, which surprised me …

    • anduin says:

      I know when I was little my brother made me wear a huge jacket and load me up with stuff when going to a movie with him and his friends, I always felt awesome for sneaking all that food in and it was a ridiculous amount too. Like 4 big bags of chips, 4 bags of popped corn, bags of candy and a 2 Liter bottle of pop.

  4. Esquire99 says:

    Interesting. I thought such a ban had been in place for a long, long time at virtually all movie theaters.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      I thought Kramer once snuck stuff in to a movie.

    • sponica says:

      well its not something AMC advertised….but I remember during training being told “we don’t have a policy against outside food and drink, except for anything that’s smelly or in a glass container.”

      i mean, you can’t blame AMC for not putting out a sign that said “outside food and drink permitted”

  5. Etoiles says:

    I don’t think they quite understand.

    My choices are not:

    A: Eat a $9 tub of popcorn
    B: Eat the small pretzels that are in my bag

    My choices are:

    A: Eat the small pretzels that are in my bag
    B: Don’t eat

    I actually think they’d make more revenue if it weren’t $15+ just to grab a couple of fun little snacks for two people.

    • TalKeaton: Every Puzzle Has an Answer! says:

      Exactly! I NEVER buy food at the theater, but if there were decent prices, I would. I think many others are the same way.

    • Hank Scorpio says:

      That’s what I was thinking: Perhaps they’d sell more concessions if they didn’t charge so damn much for them in the first place.

    • crazedhare says:

      Agreed. I bought a soda at Fantastic Mr Fox this weekend and noticed after the fact that it was FIVE SEVENTY FIVE. Six bucks. For a soda. I’d be annoyed at paying that for a beer, outside of Manhattan.

    • Gordon Comstock says:

      This is essentially my position as well. I tend to eat too much sweet and salty food anyway, so sitting through a 100-minute movie without gorging on popcorn and soda is much better for me, especially when they charge about 8 bucks for food that is worth a few nickels.

    • kmw2 says:

      The town I used to live in had an independent theater that sold not only reasonably sized, reasonably priced popcorn and drinks (a 16-oz fountain soda for $1.50, a traditional-size bag of popcorn for $2) but the largest selection of candy I’ve ever seen at a movie theater for $1 a bar. Taking a group of kids to the movies was actually a reasonable expenditure instead of an extravaganza. It was refreshing.

      • iloveblueberries says:

        The town near me used to have a nice independent theater that I grew up going to with my parents and grandparents. I moved out of town a year ago and since found they went out of business :(

        But yeah it was nice $5 adult tickets, $1.50 for a soda, $1.00 – $2.00 for the larger sizes of candy they had. Plus they got some ‘homemade’ popcorn covered in chocolate from some nearby candy shop that they sold. Only one screen in the theatre and 2-3 showings per day, but the owner would always come down to the front before the movie started and thank everybody for coming and hoping they enjoyed the movie.

        It will be missed.

    • Bohemian says:

      I would not have a problem paying $15 for something to eat at a movie as long as it was something decent food wise and the theater was better than most are.

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Right…cause French toast and Thai coconut chicken tenders are variety, but not so healthy when you’re deep frying them in a vat of oil. Oh, btw, that’ll be $13.

    • Kuchen says:

      How do you eat french toast and chicken tenders in a theater? Seems like that would be really messy.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Theaters already offer nachos and hot dogs. Those can get pretty messy too. I don’t see french toast and chicken tenders being more messy, just more crap that they’ll use to say they’re offering variety.

        • Kuchen says:

          I just keep getting the image of syrup-covered theater seats. Eww…

          • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

            That’s not syrup on your seat!

            Seriously, what does having coconut chicken do for a vegetarian?

        • 47ka says:

          Nachos are the worst theater food. I remember watching The Dark Knight with an idiot sitting behind me who not only talked, but ate nachos as if they were oxygen. Whose idiotic idea was it to sell crunchy food at a venue where people appreciate silence?

    • kateblack says:

      Shit. I don’t even want to go to the movies at all if there’s a chance the dumbass kicking the back of my seat might also spill coconut chicken on my coat.

    • Geekmom says:

      I bet they call it coconut chicken because they use the same nasty coconut oil they do for the stale popcorn.

  7. oloranya says:

    I also thought this was already in place across pretty much all theater’s. That’s what big coats and or large purses are for.

  8. windycity says:

    I thought they already banned outside snacks. Otherwise, what was I doing in the early 90′s with my mom’s giganomous purse stuffed with candy purchased from the nearby drugstore? Had I known I could have strolled in freely with my Caramello in one hand and Bottle Caps in the other I would have left that fashion-don’t at home.

    • Preyfar says:

      That’s just it. It’s not like they can search purses. There are too many ways to sneak things in.

    • dorianh49 says:

      What… no fanny pack?

    • Razor512 says:

      The theaters near me charge just as much as the movie ticket for a small drink.

      I usually bring some candy with me, if they enforce this rule I wont go at all

      they charge at least 6-8 times the normal price of the items, there is no way I will ever spend that much for food, if they can charge the same or less prices than what normal stores sell then I will have no problem buying food there.

      stores that charge a lot generally go out of business because no one wants to get ripped off.

  9. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    So are they going to install ‘food detectors’ at all entrances? *beep beep beep beep beep* that guy has beef jerky in his pocket! Strip search!

  10. Preyfar says:

    Yeah, no. I’m still sneaking in my snacks to the movie theater (the few times I go). Paying $3.50 for a small drink and another $3 or 4 for some goobers is outrageous when I can get the same “theater style” box for about $1 at any grocery store.

    When the snacks are as much as a movie ticket… yeah, something’s wrong. It’s not like these are exactly homemade things, either.

    • Difdi says:

      I usually eat a mix of snacks in the movie theater. I’ll almost always buy popcorn and a drink, but my favorite movie snack is marshmallows. No theater I’ve ever been to offers those in their snack bar.

      If I got thrown out of a movie theater for bringing my own snack (of a type they don’t sell) to supplement the ones I buy from the theater, I would be there bright and early the next morning to serve small claims court papers on them. I might or might not win, but I’d sure as hell make the effort.

  11. steveliv says:

    this won’t stop me from buying the $1 movie candy from target or wal-mart and keeping it safe and sound in my wife’s purse. i doubt they would start searching bags. that opens a large can of worms… i understand they don’t get any money from movies, but is that really our fault, it seems the movie theaters should band together and demand some sort of equitable arrangement from the studios. even so, i don’t think that gives them the right to gouge consumers at the concession stand.

    • Anathema777 says:

      They searched bags at one of the theaters near me. So we’d tuck a bag of candy into an empty tampon box. They never dug into that.

      • steveliv says:

        really, well thanks for the tip. if they start searching bags here, i’ll know just what to do. one of the perks of being married, it seems.

      • oloranya says:

        The moment a theater I go to decides to search bags is the moment I stop going to that theater, regardless of whether I’m actually trying to sneak food in or not.

        • Anathema777 says:

          That was quite a while ago when I was in middle school. We didn’t have a lot of choices in movie theaters (or know much about consumer rights) — we could walk to that theater, so that’s where we went.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yeah, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, so I’m not changing my ways now, especially since their prices are outrageous. I’ll just find more clever ways of hiding things. If they want to look in my bag, I’ll keep things hidden in a scarf (which I would have anyway cause it’s winter) or I’ll use a bag with deep zipper pockets. Or we’ll keep the candy in the inner pockets of our coats or something. Geesh.

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      I’d argue that they have the “right” to do it – - it’s their business, they can run it however they want. But I think it’s ridiculously stupid, and they shouldn’t do it.

      Theaters have been bitching for years that they don’t make any money, yet they don’t seem to want to do anything about it. I’d like to see a theater run an experiment for a few months where they sell reasonably-priced snacks, and see if their earnings don’t go up.

    • TeraGram says:

      > i doubt they would start searching bags

      In and around Santa Barbara, CA and Ventura, CA the theaters regularly search bags. If your purse is larger than the tiniest of clutches, they demand you open it so they can peer inside. One theater chain here arms its doorway-personnel with a stick, ala Disneyland, to poke into your purse and move things aside!

      We don’t go out to movies much these days. The last one was for Ponyo. I decided I *needed* to see a Miyazaki film on the big screen.

  12. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …i wasn’t under the impression that french toast, or what probably is a fried chicken tender thing, were expected to be “healthy options.”

    Seriously though, I thought that all movie theaters already banned brining in outside food or drinks. Like, forever ago.

  13. Silversmok3 says:

    I kinda thought most theaters have this policy anyways. That’s why I eat a huge meal or stop by a restaraunt before watching a flick.

    $5 wont even get you a ‘small’ popcorn anymore, and for that kind of money you could get a good ,even healthy fast food option-its cheaper to get a caesar salad at McD’s than anything on the concession menu at a theater.

    • Sunshine1970 says:

      lol

      I’ve stopped by a restaurant before and snuck the meal in…MmmmMM Chipotle’s burrito and an action flick. Awesome night out. (lol)

    • pot_roast says:

      $5 is the extra large with free refill at our nearest theatre. Yikes!

  14. chiieddy says:

    I’m pretty sure Showcase already has this policy. I usually hide a bottle of water in my purse.

  15. tedyc03 says:

    My understanding was that it was always banned. I’ve been sneaking in food my entire childhood. I don’t plan to change my ways in adulthood.

  16. theSuperman says:

    Yeah these healthy choice snacks wont come cheap. A large box of Mike&Ikes will do for me. Purchased at Target for $1.25. Although the Carmikes near me had the Tuesday deals on popcorn and sodas for a dollar each. I dont know if they are still doing that now.

  17. pb5000 says:

    A proud moment in my life was when I snuck in a footlong sub. My wife (prior to me knowing her) had success bringing in Chinese food and her brother managed to sneak a six pack the ushers.

    • lucky929 says:

      Our record is Wendy’s food and sundaes. My friend brought in an entire baguette last time we went.

      We’re classy. Our next challenge is a pizza. Suggestions welcome.

      • Xerloq says:

        I’ve done that. I technically didn’t sneak it in because the delivery guy brought it to me while inside the theater, in line, waiting for a midnight opening. Yes, food was banned. I have no idea how the delivery-guy got in.

      • Eldritch says:

        My friend in college snuck a pizza in. He was an art major, so he had a huge black art portfolio case. He put the pie in there, in it’s box, and held it up. When asked, he said he had art in there that was still “tacky” and was trying to get it to dry.

        I STILL can’t believe that worked.

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      Last week, I snuck in a 6″ pie along with a plastic fork and knife. Aimed to make having to see “New Moon” a little more tolerable.

    • jsl4980 says:

      My sister is proud to own a purse with a hard bottom that is capable of holding a large starbucks coffee – standing up without spilling it.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      a whole sub? that’s impressive. my friend and i once managed to get bottles of cranberry juice, pre mixed with vodka, in to see a retro showing of goonies.
      [goonies, while drunk, on the big screen = opportunity not to be missed]

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I once managed to get in a six-back of bottled beer using a particularly large purse of mine; we waited until things got particularly noisy to open them and the empty bottles left the way they arrived so as not to make a mess.

    • Ragman says:

      Not my moment, but I have to give a mention to however it was that got the whole 12 pack of beer in. Guess they were too drunk to dispose of it so they left the box and cans on the floor.

      I remember one theater that became a dollar theater and dropped it’s snack prices accordingly.

      Challenge: Walk in with uncooked microwave popcorn and get the concession counter to pop it for you.

  18. Tim says:

    I’ll join the chorus of “I thought this was already in place.”

    When I was thinking about working at Regal, someone at the info session asked about the whole “we give the studios almost all the money” thing. The person asking the question had a good point: Regal is the largest movie theatre chain, so with the Walmart model, can’t they force their suppliers to lower prices or threaten to stop selling their products? But the problem is that ever since VHS became popular, theatres account for 10% (or less) of a movie’s income. Theatres are just an advertisement for the DVDs, basically. So the studios wouldn’t lose much if a theater didn’t show the movie, and the theatre therefore has very little leverage in negotiations.

    I still don’t know if I buy it though. The theatre in my home town charges $6 for weekend night movies, even first-runs. And the company owns all three theatres in the county, so they could use their monopoly power to jack up prices if they wanted to.

    • room13 says:

      Wow lucky, its 11 bucks for tickets on a weekday night where I am. I go to the before 11am showings to get a six buck ticket and no crowd.

    • barty says:

      I think your local theater chain is still working on the good old fashioned volume model, rather than trying to see how much they can soak a smaller number of customers for.

      I always thought getting people more people through the door, albeit at a lower margin per sale, was a better way to ensure long term profitability. I’m sure one of the geniuses that runs these outfits will tell me why that just doesn’t work these days.

  19. Awjvail says:

    I thought this was standard practice???

  20. The_Red_Monkey says:

    This is why I am in love with the Alamo Drafthouse. Cookies and beer at regular prices during a movie. Awesome!

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      I think I’ve heard about that place on the Rooster Teeth podcast. Makes me envious.

    • milk says:

      I always get the Over the Top Dog. omnom :)

    • Sunshine1970 says:

      I usually get their hot wings or nachos. They, at one time had jalapinos stuffed with shrimp & cream cheese, wrapped in bacon. Pure heaven. I haven’t seen that on their menu in ages, though (sad).

      Husband likes their Raging Bull pizza. And beer.

      Every city should have something like the Alamo Drafthouse. If we go to a movie, we now check to see if it’s playing there first before we go anywhere else.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      I miss Alamo Draft House, but The Movie Tavern in the Metroplex is almost as good. Competitive movie prices, decent beer in BIG mugs at tolerable prices and comfy seats with plenty of room.

    • InsaneNewman says:

      If you’re from the Chicago area, check out the Hollywood Theaters – Hollywood Blvd. in Woodridge and Hollywood Palms in Naperville – for a full menu theater. Good food, reasonable prices on candy and popcorn, lots of free ticket offers, and a full bar. What’s not to love?

  21. TalKeaton: Every Puzzle Has an Answer! says:

    “the problem of limited and unhealthy options.”
    “Some of its theaters have French toast and Thai coconut chicken tenders on the menu.”

    …well, that solves one half of that, I suppose.

  22. MikeHerbst says:

    Two points:
    1) They seriously might increase revenue by aiming at a different point on the Supply/Demand curve. The pricing is so high right now, you’d think they were managing a limited supply. Instead they’re selling smaller and smaller quantities of a product with a MASSIVE profit margin. I suspect more people would get a popcorn and coke if it wasn’t $15. I also suspect more people would go to the movies if the price for two tickets was LESS than the price for the DVD which you get to own and watch over and over.

    2) AMC (specifically) could also probably increase their theater attendance if they changed out their friggen films a little more often. After a particularly bad run of movies where EVERY film we saw in a 6-month period was scratched or jumpy, my family stopped going to the AMC and instead go to the smaller independent theater (without stadium seating or other amenities) because at least their projection is digital. If you can’t spend the money to convert to digital projection, at least stop showing worn-out copies of the movie.

    2a. The same indy theater we now visit regularly is also making up for their less-than-modern seating and amenities by using this crazy thing called customer service. An usher personally introduces each film from the front of the theater while reminding everyone to turn off electronics, etc. For some reason, being told in person seems to get more people to turn off their ringers than when the reminder is part of the previews package. For the few teenagers who DON’T get the hint, the ushers will proactively come over and quietly admonish them, even mid-movie. Its awesome.

    • winshape says:

      I think you hit on the main reason why sales are off.

      I don’t expect absolute silence in a room full of people, but if I’m paying $20+ for 2 tickets, I have a reasonable expectation that I’ll enjoy the experience. The last movie I saw, Star Trek, had a mom with her two young kids whining about the movie the whole time, a pack of teenagers texting on their phones the whole time, and I was sitting next to a really really large guy who took great pleasure in unwrapping each individually cellophane-wrapped piece of candy.

      People have no sense of consideration for people around them any more.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      My AMC is awesome. Stadium seating is an absolute must, though. We don’t go to theaters that don’t have stadium seating because I’m short, and I’ve sat behind too many tall people. It gets old.

    • veronykah says:

      They have service like that here in LA at the ArcLight theater, tickets to the movie there are also $14.

    • sponica says:

      I actually PREFER the old general cinema that AMC bought over the new fandangled local chain that has stadium seating. While the chairs at AMC are mighty uncomfortable, the sound and picture is actually far superior to the newer local chain that’s in my town.

      And bc the AMC has the superior buying power, they get better copies of prints than the local chain. Nothing’s worse than a badly encoded harry potter that goes in and out of digital surround, so you only have the sound in stereo. I would have much rather been in an uncomfortable chair at AMC with reliable sound and picture.

  23. PsiCop says:

    Ditto on all commenters who said they thought this always had been the policy. Because I never assumed I could bring food into any movie theater.

    That said, there’s no way they’re going to make me buy their overpriced and overcaloric food. They don’t even have to offer “Thai coconut chicken tenders” to do it (and I’m pretty sure that Thai coconut sauce will be high in calories too). Popcorn can be a very healthy snack, if it’s air-popped and not larded with butter-flavored palm oil. They don’t have to introduce anything “new”; they only need to do better with what they already offer.

  24. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’ve never seen anyone blatantly bringing in outside food. It’s always done in coats and purses. I can’t believe that it’s a big enough revenue “stealer” to warrant a ban announcement and the expense of extra enforcement. We buy their popcorn and coke but candy bars and bottled drinks are always purchased cheaper elsewhere. I do understand that food concessions subsidize ticket prices.

    • Sunshine1970 says:

      I have. I’ve seen people bring in their Starbucks and once I saw someone bring in a big McDonald’s bag. It shocked me to see them be so blatent about it, while my sunflower seeds, diet iced tea, pretzels & Mtn. Dew (for the husband) were all concealed within my purse.

    • atomoverride says:

      WHAT? I do this everytime I goto the movies. Starbucks in hand, I walk right past them giving my ticket to them and continue on my way. A few times I have brought in a subway footlong, some mcd’s, and even chinese food with all the trimmings.

      If they start stopping people I might just stop going all together.

  25. audiochick says:

    I know the AMC near my house had a loose policy with outside food. I would often go to the Jamba Juice across the street and get a smoothie to carry in. Never had a problem. I’ve even seen people carry in whole pizzas from the joint down the street. As far as I know, it was fine to bring your own food as long as it wasn’t messy, loud or smelly. That policy was one of the reasons I preferred AMC over Regal. Now I will just have to resort to sneaking stuff in.

  26. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    great. are they also going to provide me with an easy to obtain carb count for those foods?
    am i going to get my glucose tablets confiscated when i am trying to treat myself for hypoglycemia?

    • ianmac47 says:

      If you are in New York, they already must post the calorie counts. And yes, you really shouldn’t eat anything at the movie theater.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        not sure i understand … are you saying i shouldn’t eat anything in a movie theatre that is a movie theatre concession item due to the price and lack of calorie counts?

        or are you saying that i shouldn’t even eat when i am having a low blood sugar problem? because if it’s the second…. me chowing down on some glucose tablets is going to interrupt your movie experience a lot less than the ambulance will when i have a seizure from severe hypoglycemia. and no, i can’t predict low blood sugar to just not go to the movies when i think it’s going to happen

  27. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    I figured that was the case for all theaters everywhere.

    I think people who are concerned about their health enough to not eat candy or popcorn (you can get it with no fake butter) are capable of not eating for 2 hours.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      That’s the thing, though. I don’t eat candy popcorn much. Popcorn, maybe five times a year, probably less. But I only tend to eat small amounts of popcorn at the theater. I eat candy more, but in small quantities. So just because a theater charges $5 for a pack of candy means that I should oblige if I want some? The theater’s job is to show a movie, not provide me with snacks.

      • doughrama says:

        Yes, you should oblige. By purchasing a ticket and entering their facilities, you’ve agreed to their terms of service. Your choices are, don’t buy anything or pay the prices they ask.

        I sneak stuff into theaters too, but that’s because I’m morally corrupt.

  28. morganlh85 says:

    Um, since when did ANY theater allow you to bring in snacks?

    • Etoiles says:

      Most of the ones I’ve been to won’t let you bring in something that’s in competition with them (popcorn, candy, soda) but don’t mind if you’re carrying something that clearly they don’t sell (latte, cake…). Although admittedly some of the big mexaplexes are practically full-service food courts unto themselves, now…

  29. TheMonkeyKing says:

    One of out theaters is in a big mall surrounded by big chain restaurants (Cheesecake factory, Firebird grill, Champs, etc.c) And these places almost always send out patrons with doggy bags because of the humongeous portions.

    So in the courtyard, especially around the evening, you see the couple split-walk. One walks to the movie theater to buy the tickets and the other walks to the parking lot to put away the leftovers.

    • nrich239 says:

      Sounds just like Columbia Town center in MD

      • theblackdog says:

        When you can actually find parking up there.

        • TheMonkeyKing says:

          That’s the second couple. The slow sharkin’ for parkin’ crowd that follows the leftover person, hopinh they might get in the car and leave.

          This one is the Soutpoint mall in NC.

          • tenners says:

            I remember being in line at Southpoint once and a group of people were pissed off that they weren’t allowed in with the pizzas they had just bought from California Pizza Kitchen. They actually went and threw the pizzas in the trash so they could get into the theater. I couldn’t believe that one.

      • bhr says:

        I have taken a slice of apple crumb cheesecake into that AMC on more then one occasional.

  30. RedNumberFive says:

    I make it a personal mission to sneak food into all movies that I see. Whether it’s pizza or Starbucks, I will enjoy it with my movie.

  31. lucky929 says:

    I will occasionally buy the kids’ pack, but usually I will bring something for myself in. I’m on the boat with everyone else: if snacks were less outrageously priced, I’d be far more inclined to buy instead of stopping off at Target or whatever premovie.

  32. morganlh85 says:

    And eff that anyway. I bring my big purse, and/or our coats with inside pockets. We stop at 7/11 on the way to the theater and buy some taquitos and something to drink. I agree with above – going all militant on outside snacks won’t force me to buy the overpriced theater food – it simply means I won’t buy ANYTHING.

  33. Pasketti says:

    This is where the theaters really need to take off the blinders. They’re stuck in the mindset of “show movies to as many people as we can and hope we can make money on the snacks”.

    Case in point: The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX.

    They started in an old warehouse that they converted to a theater, but put tables in front of the seats, and had an actual kitchen that served actual food, including actual beer.

    They’ve since expanded and taken over several defunct multiplexes, converting one to the kitchen, and ripping out every other row of seats to make room for the tables.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alamo_Drafthouse

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      Every theater in the world should be an Alamo Drafthouse.

    • Sunshine1970 says:

      Yep. They’re one of the best places in town to see a movie at. Quirky, and fun, and really good food (and beer)

    • InsaneNewman says:

      Sounds a lot like the Hollywood Theaters in the Chicago suburbs – Hollywood Blvd. in Woodridge and Hollywood Palms in Naperville. A full menu, reasonable prices on candy and popcorn, lots of free ticket offers, and a full bar. What’s not to love?

  34. outlulz says:

    This reminds me of an episode of The Boondocks…

  35. Etoiles says:

    Oh, also, our local AMC is in the mall… next to a gigantic food court. They’re lumped together on purpose.

    Good luck with that one, AMC Tyson’s!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Well, sneaking in food and candy are very separate things. Who wants to sneak in a quesadilla from TGI Fridays? The only way it really makes sense is if you ate at the restaurant, had a doggy bag, and threw a pack of Skittles in there to hide it.

      • Tim says:

        Well, yeah, TGIF is right there, but the rest of the food court is a few steps away.

        Nonetheless, I don’t see how this was “on purpose.” Are you (Etoiles, that is) saying that theatregoers are encouraged to buy food at the food court and bring it into the theatre?

        • Etoiles says:

          Not discouraged anyway, at least not the last time I was there. When long queues formed for certain high-profile movies, they were clearly fine with people eating food court meals while waiting, because I’ve seen a very high number do it.

          (Actually, when I waited in long communal lines for certain high-profile movies back in Boston (LOTR), they had no problem with us having pizzas. Whole pizzas. Sharing them among groups of 5 or 10.)

          I won’t say they smiled on whole meals coming in but when we’ve had drinks from lunch nobody made us throw them out before we went to get our seats…

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Honestly, do you think anyone at the Tysons AMC really notices or cares? They get so many people that they wouldn’t even notice. I bet they’ve just stopped trying to watch out for people carrying large purses. I just try to carry a purse with a black lining so it’s more or less like a bottomless pit inside and unless they reach an arm in there, they’re not going to see a thing. That’s if they actually convince me to open my purse, which they won’t.

  36. P=mv says:

    This still doesn’t fix the unhealthy aspect of their food. I really can not eat most of the sugar and salt laden crap they shill out to people at restaurants these days. I get sick. Who knows why. Until they offer their “snacks” at competitive prices and actually try to serve something healthy, I’ll be sneaking my snacks in with my purse. Let’s see them try to search that.

  37. rdclark says:

    Yet another reason why I never go to movie theaters. (Substandard projection and obnoxious moviegoers being the main ones.)

  38. jsl4980 says:

    Half the fun of going to a theater is the suspense (and pride) of sneaking in as much food and drinks as you possibly can. I could eat that super value meal in the food court, but it tastes so much better in that theater…

  39. lehrdude says:

    …Or, you can brin in up to 3 oz. of snacks if they are individaully wrapped in self-sealing containers and placed in a 1 quart ziploc bag.

    Worst case is always the Baby Ruth in the ass trick…I’d like to see the Ushers snappoing on the rubber gloves for body cavity searches..

  40. teamplur says:

    Actually, AMC did not always ban outside food and drinks. At all the AMC’s that in inside malls in San Diego (mission valley, fasion valley etc) you have always been allowed to bring in food or drink as long as it is purchased from any food vendor in the mall. So you could get a huge drink and a couple slices of pizza from SBARRO’S for $6 or w/e you like and take it right in and enjoy saving $15 off the concension prices. This isn’t a policy they advertise, but most of the food court employees will tell you if you mention you are going to a movie.

  41. He says:

    It’s definitely variety, but how is either fried stick chicken or egg-battered bread healthy?

  42. Fett101 says:

    “Aside from the most common reason for bringing in food, which is that movie concessions are too expensive, there’s also the problem of limited and unhealthy options. To address this”

    They’re going to lower prices to something actually reasonable! Finally!

    “AMC told SmartSpending that “it’s going to offer greater variety.”

    #&@$ Is there not a marketer there smart enough to mention that if they lowered concession prices there would likely be an increase in sales that would actually mean higher profit!?

  43. tempname says:

    We have to major theater chains here in Phoenix. Harkins and AMC. A long long time ago, I decided that I liked AMC more simply because I could bring in items that they didn’t offer at the concession stand IE Starbucks, milkshakes etc… Now I always purchased at least 1 item from the concession stand even if I brought in something of my own.

    About 3 months ago, my girlfriend and I go into our normal weekly movie (Yes we watch A LOT of movies). To find a new sign telling us no outside food or beverages. The manager kindly let us take in our items this one last time.

    Since then, I have switched to be a Harkins person. Sure I can’t bring in anything from the outside, but at least their chairs are more comfy.

    Good job AMC on losing a very devoted customer.

    • scouts honor says:

      At least with Harkins, they offer the cups that you can get $1 refills for a whole year. That’s easier and cheaper than sneaking in a 16oz bottle.

  44. mbz32190 says:

    I always thought this kind of thing was banned as well. I haven’t gone to the movies in a year, but before that I would always “sneak” stuff in (I didn’t really have to hide it, really. Just buy a ticket, walk in, kid rips the ticket, and that is about it). Teenagers don’t care if you bring stuff in with you or not. Hell the one Regal by me doesn’t even have people collecting tickets most of the time..it’s all on the honor system.

  45. cmdr.sass says:

    I once saw a whole family waddle into the theater with sacks of greasy food and buckets of soda from Burger King, plop down in a movie and start gorging. No theater employee said a word.

  46. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Well, looks like I will be going hungry at the movies from now on.

  47. Corinthos says:

    I always thought they did too. I used to go to a bar that was 2 blocks from a theater. Usually catch their 10 pm movie after drinking with friends so I could sober up. taco bell was along the way so I’d line every pocket I had with tacos and pick a movie that had been out for awhile and pay for a coke and sit in back and meal.

  48. kurtmac says:

    The AMC 30 use to be the bee’s knees in my area when it first opened in the late 90s. Now it doesn’t seem like they updated anything since that time, and the ticket price is like $12 a pop. The only perk is that I have a MovieWatcher card from when the place first opened and have racked up so many points that every time I use it I get a free ticket or free concessions combo. I rather like the new Kerasotes that opened a bit further away.

    • NoDavidOnlyZuul says:

      I love the kerasotes in New Lenox, IL. the tickets are $8 and friday is free refills on op and popcorn

  49. tonsilpool says:

    I remember when I was a kid, the local theaters raised the price of candy bars from $.05 to $.06. So even back then, all of us brought our own candy in.
    Now, I just stick a bag or two of M&M’s into my pocket.
    Just let them try to do a body search!

  50. 333 (only half evil) says:

    Add me to those who thought outside food was already banned from movie theaters. Our local theater chain is running a Stimulus Tuesdays promotion. Popcorn and soft drinks are only $1 each all day on Tuesdays.

  51. cosby says:

    Yea as others have said I thought that it was already a rule with most theaters. In my area they all are regal and I know it was a policy with them.

    That being said I at least buy a soda when I usually go in. I hit the abc store first and get some mini bottles and make myself a mixed drink. As far as candy goes we generally go pick some up at the walmart accross the street from the theater.

  52. de4d5y says:

    This reminds me of the time my friends and I went to see Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and snuck a crave case in. I think everyone else in the theater was jealous. Good time.

  53. Thaddeus says:

    I’m sure the 17 year old kids taking tickets are going to stop and rough up that old lady with her three butterscotch.

  54. Mecharine says:

    That’s still not very healthy…

  55. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Clearly when asked about healthy options, AMC misunderstood. “French toast and Thai coconut chicken tenders” are not in any realm of possibility considered healthy.

    Epic fail. I will continue to bring my own celery and carrots, and AMC be damned.

    On a side note, I thought all theater unilaterally banned outside food and drink already?! So I have been feeling guilty all these years for no reason? That sucks.

  56. The Marionette says:

    I work at a movie theater and now how it is. The theater rents a license for a film, the money goes to the makers of the movie and the money they DO make is from concession. And if they would charge a cheaper price they’d be out a lot of money. It costs a lot to run a theater. The electricity bill alone is in the thousands, not to mention running water and gas. Then they’ve got to pay the employees and trust me there’s a lot that work there. If anything the movie companies (not the theater) is to blame for this. Because of the money they take from the theater, the theater has no choice but to charge that much for their food otherwise there would be no theater.

    • Razor512 says:

      if the items in stock cost 20 cents to sell per item

      would you rather have 20 people buy the item at $5 or 600 people buy the item at $1?

      • Outrun1986 says:

        The prices would have to be competitive with whatever store is nearby in order to get people to buy it. I suspect most people just walk by the concession stand because they know the food is too overpriced to afford, so there would have to be big signs in the whole area promoting the lower prices in order to get people to actually buy the food. Even if the price was 50 cents higher I still think people would go to the other store and sneak in the food.

        I don’t understand businesses that run like this, overcharging the customer is just bad overall for business in this day and age, no one has $5 for a candy bar.

    • morlo says:

      So instead of these chains negotiating to get a better cut of ticket prices they force their customers to watch a ridiculous number of ads and eat their crappy food. A sign of a failing business is the attempt to force people into paying for their product. Fewer and fewer customers will be squeezed for more and more money until, finally, THE END.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Failed business model is failed business model.

    • marsneedsrabbits says:

      Thank you. I was hoping that someone would explain the economics of the situation.

      The problem is, it isn’t a sustainable model at some point. There is only so much you can reasonably charge for drinks and popcorn before a large percentage of people with either skip them or sneak it in.

      If the patron forgoes it, the theatre gets nothing; and if the patron sneaks it in, the theatre either has to do searches or gets nothing.

      Searches alienates customers and opens the theatre to lawsuits over all sorts of issues.

      The only realistic answer would seem to be re-writing the terms under which theatres show movies.

  57. outinthedark says:

    This is really an interested read.

    I have a friend who works at a Regal chain in downtown Virginia Beach. He told me that his manager had an attitude of “The economy sucks. I don’t care if you bring in food.” They even started offering free refills on drinks and popcorn.

    I’ve always hit up a near by drug store and grabbed a $1 box of candy if I wanted to. A $5 large coke at the theatre always is easy to share as well with more than 2 people. I know with my siblings one coke can go for 3 or 4 people. No one should drink nearly a 2 littre by themselves! :D

  58. eltigreferoz says:

    Hmmm….I didn’t realize outside food wasn’t banned in the first place.

  59. tigress says:

    I refuse to pay $4 for soda — without refill discount mind you — $5 for popcorn, $3 for candy (per person) on top of outrageous ticket prices. Remember the dollar theatre? Now it’s the $3 theatre. They don’t offer healthy options and if they did they would charge WAY too much. What are they going to do kick me out. Just give me a reason to save money, please.

  60. Naame says:

    Hehe based on the overwhelming number of comments here as well as my own knowledge and experiences I would say that this move by AMC will do little to nothing because everyone thought that bringing your own snacks/drinks was banned already.

    Unless they plan to start doing airline customs style searches (obviously I do not approve of such a practice in a theater), I’d say this is a pointless effort.

  61. BigFoot_Pete says:

    What’s to stop someone from claiming Kosher status, or severe nut allergy? You could make a very convincing claim that the food served in the theater is not medically or religiously possible for you, thus turning it into a discrimination problem if they refuse.

    Seems simple enough to me.

  62. Ratuig says:

    Do “fun size” bottles of rum count as snacks?… I hope not.

  63. mbd says:

    Whether movie theatre concession prices are too high or not depends upon which side of the counter you are on. If you don’t feel you are getting value, don’t buy it. That is the only way prices will come down. Most people are capable of sitting for 2 hours without snacks.

    As to bringing in outside food/drinks, I don’t understand people who would never think of bringing outside food or drinks into a restaurant think it is ok to bring outside food/drinks into a theatre because they also provide entertainment along with there optional menu items. Movie theatres are in business not only to show movies, but to sell snack/junk food. Try bringing a pizza into McDonald’s to eat. Even if you buy the drinks from McDonald’s, I don’t think it will go over too well with the staff.

  64. PricklyPete says:

    I worked at a several theaters many years ago. Just so you know, those of you who “sneak” in your outside food and think you are so clever, (because you didn’t get caught) you aren’t really that clever.

    When I looked down from the projection booth I saw you pulling out your bags of popcorn, subs, candy, and whatever else you thought you were sneaking in undetected.

    We had a no outside food policy, but I wasn’t going to go confront someone because they brought in their own food. I didn’t feel like getting beat up over a box of Goobers.

    So just because no one says anything to you, it doesn’t mean they don’t know.

  65. alfundo says:

    The day I’m asked to dispose of my fresh cup of D&D is the day I ask for a refund and not look back.

  66. Snarkysnake says:

    Lets all go to the lob-by…
    Lets all go to the lob-by…
    Lets all go to the lob-by …

    …To tell them where they can stick their overpriced Sno Caps and Milk Duds.

  67. Sheogorath says:

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that the price of the tickets isn’t really the theaters fault, it’s set (more or less) by the people who lease the film to the theater. And then they take %90 or so of the sales, letting off %10 or so per week.

    This kind of explains the expensive snacks, although it doesn’t justify the %600 markups. Theaters probably buy popcorn by the ton for 16 cents a ton. I personally very, very, rarely buy theater popcorn. Mostly for nostalgia purposes. We lived in a tourist town when I was a kid, had a nice little theater that sold ‘authentic’ movie popcorn, IE: They used real butter. Sure there were rats on the floor, but you got used to them.

    Anyway, as has been said, I think they might sell more snacks if they took their prices down. Sell your candy for a mere %200 markup. I’ll pay $2 for a candy bar and a bit extra for popcorn, ’cause I realize you’re in financial trouble (as always) and need the cash. I won’t pay the price of a fast food meal for a tub of salty cardboard.

  68. MisterE says:

    Because I do not enjoy going to the movies, this policy does not affect me. I hate dealing with Ferrell kids, high prices for movies and snacks, and inattentive staff who refuse to focus the screen, adjust the sound, or simply ignore their customers. Just like the car companies and banks: Let them fail.

  69. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    This is new?

  70. bushi says:

    Wow, and bang just like they won’t get my business anymore. They need to smell the popcorn burning and realize that movies are social experience. You don’t get good a good social experience when the you are being treated like a criminal, or just nickle and dineing the customers. There are so many viewing options these days about to be even more… they can’t see past the short term to how they are going to kill themselves with this type of anti consumer policy.

  71. Sian says:

    I haven’t met a minimum-wage theater worker yet who cares enough to enforce such a ban.

  72. Sian says:

    I haven’t met a minimum-wage theater worker yet who cares enough to enforce such a ban.

  73. BenChatt says:

    Snack-in!!

  74. riverstyxxx says:

    The movie theater up the road has second-run movies for about 1.50 a ticket plus 1.00 hot dogs and I think the popcorn is around 2 bucks a piece. I dont mind those prices. But a 10 dollar movie with 7 dollar popcorns? Forget it. If I ever step foot into one of those places, I would sneak food in too.

  75. immaculate gaenor says:

    I used to work at a movie theatre, and this was the official policy, but no one really enforced it. The big exceptions were glass and alcohol and those were for safety reasons. If someone had a liquor store bag with them, we asked them to give it to us to leave in the manager’s office and most people were okay with that. But I’ve had to clean up theatres with empty beer and liquor bottles rolling in the aisles. Thankfully, none were broken, but it’s still not great.

  76. henrygates3 says:

    Really…I thought outside snacks were already banned.

  77. suburbancowboy says:

    This is one of the many reasons I invested in a nice home theater setup. I can watch the movies when I want. I can rewind if I miss a line. I can pause to go to the bathroom. I can eat my food.

    The sound in my setup is better than a good portion of the movie theaters I have been to.

    Even with an inexpensive home theater setup, with HDTV, the overall experience is better than the clusterf*** that is the modern multiplex. Kids texting and taking phone calls in the middle of a movie. Really? I paid 12 bucks a ticket for this? Why is that kid kicking my seat???? Sit down!

  78. john says:

    We have AMC in my area, and I have been walking in with drinks and snacks out in the open for a few years now. They have never said a thing. The urban legend around here is that they couldn’t say a thing. Same thing with Dickinson Theatres in town. I guess I will go there more often now.

  79. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    The mark-up on food items at the movies theater is ridiculous.

    There’s no way I’d pay $5 for an 8oz “medium” soda, that’s filled to the top with ice and a few sips worth of actual soda.

  80. Sanshie says:

    Enter text…How about make it easier to buy the overpriced, highly caloric food? The local theater chains usually have just one or two motor skill challenged teen agers selling the stuff and it takes forever! Until then, big damn purse.

  81. Willow01 says:

    I guess I’ll just keep sneaking in my beer and pretzels in the pockets of my trenchcoat….

  82. teke367 says:

    What they should do is make it so that it doesn’t take 15 minutes to buy popcorn. If they hired people who could move at a slightly faster pace than “crawling” perhaps they’d sell more.

  83. hc130radio says:

    AMC – Your minimum wage, highschool aged employees don’t care about your policy. I will continue to sneak in my walmart candy and sodas. And guess what, your employees will be picking my wrappers off the movie theater floor! HA!

  84. Jesse says:

    Does this mean AMC will start instituting a pat down & bag/purse search to inspect for contraband?

  85. Donathius says:

    Incidentally – the deals the theaters get from the film distributors are getting worse all the time. Typically (for summer blockbusters anyway) the production company gets 95-100% of ticket sales plus >50% of the concession sales. Think about how lousy that is for a minute. Let’s say Iron Man 2 gets 60% of concession sales, BUT how many of the people buying concessions are at the 16 screen theater to see the Iron Man playing on four screens? It’s a pretty lousy position for theater owners to be in, which is why there are so few independent places still in existence. The way things are structured now the only way to turn a profit on such a thin margin is by making up for it in huge volume ala huge chains of multi-plexes.

  86. [DFX] Deimos says:

    For some reason I am thinking of Trailer Park Boys…

    “We don’t steal drinks. This is my drink, I brought it from home.”

  87. B says:

    French toast at the movies? I’m intrigued, although it’s not going to help the sticky floors situation that theaters already suffer from.

  88. XISMZERO says:

    As a once or twice a day theater goer per year, this will scale my visits down fewer or in the least, avoid AMC (or at least I’d hope to avoid it). I’ve been an abstainant concessions consumer for many years now mainly because I won’t buy a $6 bag of popcorn (you can buy a box of it for like $2), but I’ve been known to bring an outside coffee in when I do go.

    Empirically, somewhere between the lack of security/ushers (silencing stupid kids), rampant advertisments, rising ticket prices and cellphone idiots, I’m almost cheering for theaters to just die (hard) already.

    Movie pun… did it work?

  89. krownd says:

    I think one theater should should just try to lower the prices to something affordable for everyone (as in $2 popcorn/drinks) and see how well the sales go. I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to sell a crap load more food than the ridiculous 5 bucks for a small popcorn/drinks…

  90. azsumrg1rl says:

    Not only do I echo the chorus of, “I thought most theaters already banned outside food,” but I also would like to note that AMC seems to have the highest concession and ticket prices (at least here in AZ). For example: They are more expensive than Harkins by $1-$2, only offer student discounts on Tuesdays, and charge $5 for a large soda. In contrast, I can always get in on a student discount at Harkins and a large soda is $1 with my Harkins cup (which can also be used at home). Guess which theater we help keep in business…

  91. SaraFimm says:

    Type 1 diabetic in my family. We still stock up on our goodies at a store before heading to the theater. Ziploc baggies full of goodies also make less noise than most packaging in the theaters. Can I say we’re dealing in portion control and being polite-er to our fellow theater goers? Okay, okay, gallon size ziplocs really aren’t portion control….

  92. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    While we are at it – why doesn’t the concession have a single cattle line like the bank? All the theatres I’ve been to have multiple lines, slow staff, and I aIways get stuck in the slowest queue
    with the single guy ahead of me suddenly surrounded by a wife and 4 kids who don’t know what they want.

  93. JulesNoctambule says:

    So the movie theater is banning outside food, and yet my local libraries are allowing — nay, encouraging — the same. A pint of ice cream and peel-and-eat shrimp, right there on top of the books. Wish I was kidding, but no. It’s disgusting.

  94. almightytora says:

    I remember the AMC in Woodland Hills, CA welcomed outside food and drinks from the food court. I haven’t been there recently, but I assume they have changed their policy about it now.

    I know that the AMC in Santa Anita (Arcadia, CA) has a huge sign before you buy tickets saying that outside food and drinks aren’t allowed.

  95. Outrun1986 says:

    Ok, I will use an example from a carnival I recently attended to prove you will sell more stuff if you lower the price of what you are selling. Rides at said carnival are around 5$ each for an adult ride, now talk about a complete ripoff, I really love carnivals and amusement rides but its just becoming an unaffordable hobby right now so I think I am going to have to quit soon.

    Most carnivals I go to are rather empty on the rides due to the high prices, however this one carnival had some trouble with the generators or something and therefore opened up a bit later than they said they would. So they put up signs saying all rides 1$, well the lines at the ticket booth formed and stayed that way all night long. They were doing really, really well. Rides are normally $4-5 each at this particular carnival, and yeah there normally aren’t many people on the rides because at that price you are looking at $8-10 for 2 people to get on one ride.

    How does this fit into the discussion, well if movie theaters lowered the prices of the food I am sure the same thing would happen, people would flock to the snack bar in masses and they would purchase way more.

  96. H3ion says:

    1. Sneak food in. 2. Wait for the DVD to come out (or the pay per view) and watch it in the comfort of your home with any food you want, a whole turkey if that’s your pleasure.

    Theater chains bid to get movies from the studios and for a really blockbuster release, they’ll bid more than 100% of the ticket gross, which means they operate at a loss starting out. The snack prices are ridiculous and I can’t remember the last time I bought anything at a movie concessions stand, but if they brought their prices in line with reality, say 20% higher than outside the theater, they might generate some real volume and make some money while not pissing off their customers.

  97. Chuck Norris' wig says:

    With todays technology, there is absolutely no reason to set foot in a theatre. I can watch movies in my own home, free from dummies on their cell phones and those that don’t shut, often before those movies are even shown in the theatre. I enjoyed “Harry Brown” just last night.

    • ichiban1081 says:

      Very true. I rarely go to the theater since pretty much have one in my home but sometimes my wife does like to go out and “enjoy” a movie (and I use that term loosely). The projector is usually out of focus, people talking, screaming, sticky floors, slow concession lines and high prices. You can’t really enjoy movies anymore in public (Chipotle helps!). I have a 1080p projector (properly calibrated), 5.1 sound and comfy reclining chairs. And yes Harry Brown was good :)

  98. Tiandli says:

    If the concessions weren’t so overpriced, more moviegoers might actually buy their snacks at the theater. A theater should test the market by slashing the prices by at least 50% and then seeing if the volume of purchases outperform the current marked-up prices.

  99. savdavid says:

    After working for 20+ years in the theater exhibition business I can guarantee this policy is doomed to fail. No if, ands or buts. There is NO way the chains can police this. What will they do: frisk everyone? open all purses? open all coats? check all pockets? The chains are too damn cheap to hire enough people to begin with and when they are slammed with thousands of patrons do they have the time, the manpower or the intelligence to do this. Most of their employees are minimum wage kids (did you know cinemas don’t have to pay minimum wage – they are excluded by law) and these underpaid and overworked kids have no desire to do all the grunt work for a stupid policy destined to crash and burn.

  100. Skeptic says:

    Once when running late for the show — no time for dinner — I smuggled an entire McDonald’s meal in under my down jacket — Big Mac, fries, and shake. My glasses steamed up a bit from the warm food while I was in line to enter the theater but the usher didn’t seem to notice. I don’t eat that kind of junk food anymore but will continue to bring candy and liquids from elsewhere — not only the prices, but the lines at the theater concessions are terrible.

  101. Southern says:

    Since the business model of movie theaters is to give all the ticket sales to the studios and scrape out a living on concessions

    I just don’t buy that. If this were the case, how can places like http://www.pccmovies.com/ afford to sell tickets to the same first-run movies that other theaters show for only $4.50 at night, and $2.25 for matinees?

    Granted the theater isn’t laid out like the big AMCs and such with stadium seating, but it’s nice enough.. And the refreshments are even fairly inexpensive ($4.00 for popcorn with unlimited refills, soda are similiarly priced)

    You can’t possibly tell me that PCC can sell tickets for $4.50 and the Silverado across the street is selling them for $9.50, and both theaters give ALL that money to the studio(s). Those large theaters HAVE to be keeping some of that money.

  102. jwissick says:

    Not going to stop me. Charging 5 bucks for a lousy quarters worth of popcorn (their butter flavored OIL makes me sick literally) and 4 bucks for 1 dollars worth of drink is criminal. I will continue to smuggle in food of my choice and drinks. AND I will leave a HUGE mess when I leave.

  103. StanTheManDean says:

    wanna eat your own food? Then stay at home.

    Lying, cheating, stealing, bringing your own food or whatever only serves to give businesses reasons to lie, cheat or steal from you.

    PS: I have’t been to a movie theater since the day I discovered DVDs.

  104. u1itn0w2day says:

    Popcorn smell I can handle and don’t mind if I am eating it or not . Something like nachos or oninions on the other hand…

    If I want pizza I’ll go to Pizza Hut and not the closet AMC chain .

    Ticket prices are bad enough throw in another 10-20 on food I minus well watch a big screen in bar .

  105. emingtonems says:

    I don’t go to this theatre chain because it’s about 5 dollars more expensive than the other chain (Cineplex).

  106. Geblah187 says:

    On a somewhat related note, I think i’ll open a popcorn and candy shop somewhere very close to a movie theater …

  107. ArcanaJ says:

    “Some of its theaters have French toast and Thai coconut chicken tenders on the menu.” Wow! I feel healthier already! Just gimme a minute to apply for that second mortgage and I’ll order some!

    So what do they plan to do? Search everyone? Search just the purse-carries (aka women)? Install snack detectors and make everyone remove their shoes?

  108. xaraan says:

    hmm, I thought they were already banned.
    doesn’t matter, I’ll still bring in outside snacks, I’m not paying five bucks for a half a bag of twizzlers.
    Don’t rip people off and maybe they will buy something.

  109. Sestos says:

    I dislike the price but I can understand the theaters and even the smaller mom and pop independents. The business model with Hollywood is broken, with “Hollywood accounting”. If you ask the major studies, only about four movies each year make a profit even if the majority make money then was used to produce and push to each theater. The movie chains need to go back to Hollywood and ask for a share of revenue.

    The theaters keep charging more because they have to pay for for the movies and for the upgraded seating and updating to make sure people go to one threater instead of the “newer” one across town. Food and Drinks have become their primary source of revenue.

    The smaller independents have it a bit better, but they are a niche market. You will still pay money for food and drinks if not as much, they are more about showing smaller films which never would sell to the general public, and special events where they show classic films at midnight or other events to draw people in.

    • Sestos says:

      Now with all that said, Me and my soon to be wife will continue to bring in water and food in her purse or my Timbuk2

  110. d says:

    Awwwww, poor poor movie theaters… It’ll be all right… Just raise your ticket prices and force people to buy your overpriced concessions…

    *head slap* MORONS! That’s the whole reason people have stopped coming in the first place. You are now competing against large LCD TV’s, 5.1 (7.1) (DTS) surround sound stereos, PAUSE buttons, homemade goodness for food, CLEAN (well, usually) toilets, NO DRIVING, NO PARKING, No tall people sitting in front of you, CLEAN chairs, NO one walking in front of you (well, ok, the Cat maybe…), The ability to control the volume, No one texting, talking on the phone, or kicking your chair, and the ability to sit and smoke a big fatty if you want (ummm, if you have glaucoma…).

    So if you want to give me an “experience”, realize that it’s not a wallet raping that I’m looking for. Nor am I looking to listen to people chit chatting, advertising before the lights go down, 20 minutes of advertising after the lights go down, sticky floors, dirty seats, people kicking my chair, people walking in front of my seat every 2 minutes, rows of seats right on top of the others, asses of people I don’t know in my face as they go by, texters, talkers, crying babys, loud eaters, people hacking/coughing/sneezing/farting (well, at least those I don’t know personally), teenagers getting blowjobs in the back, gang bangers drinking, having to park in the ass end of a giant parking lot just to avoid getting my car dinged to hell by some no-talent ass clown, never-ending red lights designed to slow down traffic at night just because some fool might be drunk, police checkpoints looking for drunks on the weekends, blown out speakers, dirty screens, ushers afraid to do their jobs, pop corn popped in high-trans-fat oil coated with “butter” substances I can run my car on, and more…

    Fuck it – I’ll stay home. My wife and I are done with the bullshit – we go see a movie LATE AT NIGHT, if and only if, it’s an epic saga that needs to be seen on a screen bigger than we have at home. And we see it in iMax… But more and more, we’re getting tired of the wallet rape, so we’re staying home and watching something here…

    The sooner the theater chains figure it out and do something about it – the sooner they’ll make some cash. But just because you have some shitty agreement with the movie studios to give them too much of a percentage isn’t my fault. I never agreed to buy anything at your concession stand – rip me off, I’ll return the favor and won’t feel badly about doing it at all. Tell the movie studios that they need to allow you to make money on the tickets so you can survive – if they don’t, then fuck ‘em. Find a studio that does right by you and carry ALL of their movies. The other no-talent ass clowns will fall into line soon enough when there’s no place for their movies to be seen except “direct to DVD”…

  111. NickelMD says:

    Well unless they can guarantee (which they can’t) that all food is nut-free, gluten free, and doesn’t contain other foods to which people have allergies, their policy violates the ADA (for people with allergies.)

    Oh, and did we mention that you aren’t required to have a physician’s letter to use the ADA? (And they can’t ask you for one.) You are SOL if you want to make a complaint and you don’t have an actual food allergy, but bluffing your way out if they catch you is still an option.

  112. subtlefrog says:

    In addition to unhealthy – there are a lot of people with restricted diet of one form or another who just can’t eat any of that crap (diabetic has been mentioned, vegan, etc etc.). As a vegan there’s not much there for me, that’s for damned sure.

  113. maximomore says:

    First of all, all theaters do not let outside food in. That is why my girlfriend and me take her tote bag and sneak the food in. The food at the movie theater is too unhealthy and too expensive.

  114. ichiban1081 says:

    They need more reasonable prices and better selection. Here in Brooklyn before I go to the theater I hit up Chipotle which is about 4 blocks away and for about $10 I can get 2 giant burritos, stuff them in my wife’s bag and eat while we watch the movie. For $10 in the movie theater all we can get is maybe a shitty hotdog and a small drink. Put better foods and reasonable prices and maybe I won’t bring in outside food. Or just build a Chipotle inside of the theater?

  115. Wolfbird says:

    I just hide my snacks in my purse, and just put a box of tampons over top. No one ever checks my purse anyway, but if they do they’re in for an awkward surprise :3

  116. sth9669 says:

    Man, it’ll be interesting to see if the Uptown theater in DC goes along with this! They have never cared about outside food the last few years. When I went to see the Dark Knight I walked in with a coldstone milkshake and 2 slices of pizza wrapped in foil, and the ticket taker didn’t even think twice, he just tore my ticket and said ‘enjoy the show’!

    I’ll have to find a new theater if they make the change. . . .I guess there’s always sneaking it in, but I usually don’t like candy during a movie, I want a sandwich or something more substantial. . .

  117. serke says:

    The big chains need to take a page out of the independent theaters’ books. The one in my town serves pastries along with candy. Not exactly healthy, but it’s not horribly overpriced, and there’s something about getting a slice of carrot cake at the theater that amuses me.

    In addition, the theater owns the cafe next door, so you can bring in anything that they sell next door, frou frou drinks and quiche and paninis and such.

  118. P_Smith says:

    My solution won’t work for everyone (especially the impatient), but I’ve pretty much stopped going to theaters and wait for the flick to come out on DVD. I can have whatever snacks I want at home, there aren’t any morons talking or with cell phones, and I can hit pause and not miss anything when I head for the head.

    Yeah, I miss some of the “experience” of theaters, but seeing the latest “blockbuster” (wallet buster is more like it) just isn’t that important anymore. Then again, I’m the type who will read movie spoiler sites and not be bothered by knowing the ending beforehand.

  119. Bullmoose says:

    I’m not worried, they’re never gonna be able to search everyones pockets and purses. I find it hard to be sympathetic for the studios anyway. If ALL the money a theatre takes in goes to the studios then the theatres need to make a better deal. If not, let the theatres close and see how much they make when every movie becomes straight-to-DVD and there’s no opening weekend or hoopla. Of course they could just stop paying actors millions and millions of dollars for 3 months of work.

  120. KianteWench says:

    Are you KIDDING ME?!?! The best answer they have for unhealthy food choices is “French toast and Thai coconut chicken tenders” both of which would be high calorie, high fat content foods? WTF?! I mean this seriously. That’s ridiculous. Plus each one of those “Healthy Options” Will be ludicrously expensive. I would say 13 dollars a piece maybe more.

    ITs already nearly 5 dollars for a decent size drink and another 5 dollars for a handful of nachos that are stale. The hot dogs are disgusting. The popcorn is obscenely bad for you. The pizza is 5 dollars for a slice and limited to cheese and pepperoni. (Honestly we can get a whole, good pizza for less than 10 dollars and thats the price for a single slice) The candy is sold at retailers for at most $2 a box and you KNOW they are getting profit from it so why cant movie theaters do the same? Their “Combos” are not saving you much at all, maybe 50 cents.

    I will keep going to the Movie Tavern, where I can get fairly good tasting and healthy food that I can easily eat for Dinner while watching a movie that costs at least 1 dollar less than a major movie theater like AMC.

  121. Voxhumana says:

    Would this kind of be like the ban on talking during films and using your cell phone during the movie, or bringing crying infants into the film? Because if the ban is like that, folks, you’ve got nothing to worry about. But seriously, I agree with most of the posters that the choices and prices at movie concessions are obscenely overpriced! We either bring dried fruit or nothing.

  122. Chazz1918 says:

    Does anyone have an idea if this is legally enforceable. Can they search you on the way in for un-contraband like they do in stadiums for guns and beer? Does a box of Peanut M&Ms qualify as dangerous. Or perhaps they are within their legal rights to say “this is our business and we don’t allow outside food.” I mean imagine if you walked into a restaurant ordered a coke and your whole family pulls out Big Macs from unmarked shopping bags.

  123. Ben says:

    Since this is impossible to enforce, I’ll continue to bring whatever food and drinks I want into the movie theater.

  124. frank says:

    A recent study found that a Regal medium popcorn — 20 cups — contains 1,200 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat, and 980 milligrams of sodium. That’s without the buttery topping that can be drizzled — or poured — on the popcorn, which adds another 200 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat per 1.5 tablespoons. WOW… right??

  125. heybebeh says:

    Yet one more reason to torrent. When will people get it through their heads?

    I always sneak stuff in to my local AMC. They’re not going to search you. And if they ever do, I will never, EVER, go to that place again. As simple as that. Their prices are bull#$%^, their food is crap, and there is NO REASON for me to ever eat their food.

    I think they’d sell more if they charged less. I would buy a $2 soda. I honestly would. But not a $4.50 one. I would buy a $2 small popcorn. But not a $3.50 one. THESE PEOPLE ARE JUST STUPID.

  126. ipeench says:

    amc has allowed you to bring in outside food for a few years now.. there is a wendys right next to the one by my house sometimes to go in and get a meal before the movie haha mostly i just liked to hear everone say how the places smelled like chicken nuggets and frys during the movie ha

    but my theory is they are losing so much because they are charging ridiculous prices for movies… by my house its 10.50 a ticket and for lg drink and med popcorn its 15.

  127. Kimbeegrin says:

    That’s when my mighty yellow purse comes in handy to smuggle food in! I could fit a small dog in there if I wanted to ( which I don’t because I am not Paris Hilton and have a yellow lab) I’ve had success smuggling in Ben and Jerry’s Pint size ice creams, candy, a can of Pringles chips, drinks, and more!

  128. Sugarless says:

    And I thought theatres banned outside food decades ago. You mean I’ve been smuggling stuff in for no reason?

    I can’t wait to sit next to someone eating Thai coconut chicken in a dark theatre.