Man Sues Movie Theater Over Price Of Snacks

Unless you smuggle your nibbles and beverages into a movie theater, grabbing a bite to eat at the movie theater can easily double or triple the cost of your ticket. But one Michigan man is fed up with being gouged at the concession stand and has filed suit against his local AMC theater.

“He got tired of being taken advantage of,” the man’s lawyer tells the Detroit Free Press. “It’s hard to justify prices that are three- and four-times higher than anywhere else.”

The lawyer says his client had been bringing his own food and beverages into the theater but stopped when management posted a sign saying customers could no longer bring in outside eats.

And so, when he went to buy a Coke and some Goobers during his Dec. 26 trip to the movies, the total came to $8, several times the $2.73 he would have paid if he’d purchased the items elsewhere.

The plaintiff alleges that such pricing is a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and is seeking refunds for all customers who were overcharged.

Filmgoer takes stand on costly snacks, sues AMC Livonia theater [Detroit Free Press]

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    “But one Michigan man is fed up with being gouged at the concession stand and has filed suit against his local AMC theater. “

    The man then used his winnings to buy a shiny new red Ferrari and said it was worth it.

    • lacubsfan2 says:

      This case will be thrown out, and the guy is a complete moron. A business can charge WHATEVER they want, and if people don’t like it they can speak with their wallets.

      • rushevents says:

        Who is the bigger moron? the man or the lawyer.

        Answer – the man – the lawyer is still gonna get his fee.

  2. MutantMonkey says:

    Someone should ask the guy if he would be more willing to pay $30 for a movie ticket to get the more reasonably priced food.

    • msbask says:

      I guess everyone else is subsidizing my (incredibly infrequent) trips to the theatre, because I never buy anything from the concession stands.

      • redskull says:

        Me either. It’s not the cost (which I agree is outrageous), it’s just that I feel I can safely go two hours without eating or drinking something. I know I’m in the minority but I just don’t get why everyone else has to eat while watching a movie.

        Another reason I don’t drink anything during the film– I don’t like having to run to the restroom during the last reel.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      It wouldn’t have to be totally offset. I mean, only a portion of people who buy movie tickets also buy food. So it’s not like you’d be automatically trippling every movie ticket price. Maybe double it.

      • SBR249 says:

        The non-offset portion would be the profit that the movie theater makes, in other words, the reason it exists in the first place. These places aren’t non-profit charities.

        • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

          Their current model is not a charity either, so they can still do what I said and make a profit.

    • FilthyHarry says:

      Maybe not. Perhaps if they lowered the prices to a more reasonable level people would buy from the concession stand?

      • MutantMonkey says:

        The reason those snack prices are so high is so the theater can actually cover the rental of the movies being shown. If the movie tickets themselves covered the cost, they would probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of $50.

        • TerraSin says:

          The thing is, if they lowered the price of candy to something reasonable such as what a convenience store would charge for it, they would likely sell a lot more of it and actually turn a decent profit. Those stores make 1-3x profit over the cost. If theaters did this, they could easily push a lot more product and get that profit for themselves.

        • mszabo says:

          I’m pretty sure I can call bullshit on that one. I don’t disagree that the theatre makes all its profits from concessions, but to say the price per ticket would be $50 without concessions is a ridiculous exaggeration. This would imply that the average profit made on concessions per patron is $50. Which would further imply that the average bill at the concession stand is far higher than that to cover the cost the concession operation (labor mostly as soda/popcorn is dirt cheap), and to cover all those who don’t buy concessions because they are a rip off.

          I go with my family and we usually split an absurdly priced large popcorn and bottled water for $13.00. I’ve never seen anyone walk away with a $100 worth of popcorn.

      • Xenotype51 says:

        I can see this. Most of the places where I live that offer full meals along with their movies have reasonably priced ticket prices ($6-$8) and food options (along the lines of eating @ Applebees). They also don’t seem to be having an issue turning a profit, so I’m guessing the business model of selling crappy overpriced concessions is just inadequate.

    • deadandy says:

      Most theater patrons are totally ignorant of the fact that concessions are the only margin items the theater sells. They have to make all of their operating costs and profits on concessions, frequent moviegoer programs, etc. I don’t blame them for their ignorance, but at least do a little research before you jump right to filing a lawsuit.

      • Bladerunner says:

        Some of us are aware of the relative margins of prices, but still think it’s BS that they charge such exorbitant prices and don’t allow outside food or drink in a venue that is guaranteed to take several hours.

        • SBR249 says:

          Movie theaters are businesses that need to make profits too. It’s not an unalienable right for you to be able to go to a movie theater. If you need the food but don’t want to pay, then don’t go.

          • Bladerunner says:

            You’re right! You’ve effectively destroyed the straw man that I think I have a right to go to a movie. Good job! Want me to do the same? “God, no, the corporate overlords don’t have the right to repossess my organs, how could you even suggest that!”

            I can call it bullshit; I can call any business model I don’t like bullshit. I can call the Microsoft tax bullshit. I can call Ticketmaster policies bullshit. It’s called having a negative opinion of something.

            Also? This is similar to bait and switch tactics, which are illegal even though the customer could always “just not go” or “go somewhere else”. Note (lest you start building a new straw man), I don’t think it IS bait and switch, I’m just saying that philosophically, it’s an attempt to mislead customers about pricing. The defense of this policy, after all, is that “they don’t make their money on the ticket”, which means they’re hiding the price in the concessions. That is clearly an attempt to mislead the customer.

            • SBR249 says:

              Yes, and I can call your bullshit opinions bullshit. Doesn’t make it a straw man though because you are not making a logical argument, it just means I’m debunking your ignorance.

              As for the bait and switch bullshit, it’s not even close. The theater doesn’t advertise concession prices to lure you in and then charge you 3x the advertised price for something else. It advertises $10 for a ticket to see a movie and that’s exactly what you’ll pay to see that movie at that theater. Also, when I buy a Metro ticket, it covers electricity to run the trains, maintenance costs for the stations, tracks, and equipment, salary of workers, capital investment costs, administrative costs, etc. That’s not all spelled out on the receipt I get or the posted prices. And here I thought it was just the price to get me from A to B. Similarly, I eat at a restaurant, I bet the food alone doesn’t cost $10 per entree. How DARE those restaurants bundle their overhead costs into the food costs I pay! How misleading!

              • Bladerunner says:

                Actually, you said, and I quote “It’s not an unalienable right for you to be able to go to a movie theater”, as though that was relevant to the discussion. It was not; it was an obvious point that I never argued, so to bring it up is to presume that somehow I was implying I DO have a right to go to a movie, which is trivially false.

                Once again, this all would not be an issue if they didn’t prevent you from bringing in your own food
                and drink. By doing so, they are clearly gouging a captive audience.

                You can be okay with that, but the fact that they “need” that money is not my problem. We have decided as a culture to prevent some methods of taking advantage of consumers, such as the “bait and switch”. I VERY SPECIFICALLY said I was not equating the two, I was drawing philosophical parallels. We have laws against profiteering during wartime. We have laws that force private business to allow breastfeeding on their premises. Laws against discrimination. The idea that preventing people from bringing their own food into a theater then gouging by 5-600% is unreasonable, is not a ludicrous leap from existing standards of legal business limitation.

                • BlkSwanPres says:

                  Really people can’t stop shoving food in their mouths for two hours?

                  • Bladerunner says:

                    Not really the point at all, is it?

                    • rmorin says:

                      You are one of the most entitled, illogical posters on this site. I saw up-thread you tried to compare goddamn civil rights with the ability for you to sneak in Twinkies to Alvin and The Chipmunks 2: Chip Wrecked.

                      You do not have any right to bring any item (barring for medical acommondation) into a private business. If they the business says you have to wear a jacket, guess what? You have to wear a jacket. If they say no flip flops, then you can’t wear flip flops. The government is not in the business of policing snack food you man-child.

                    • Bladerunner says:

                      You’re either a troll, or an idiot, but either way you’re an insufferable twat.

                      You can sit there all you want and attempt to invalidate the comparison, but you’d need to actually make logical points instead of just insults. You can’t, of course, which is not to say someone might not be able to, but rather that apparently you can’t, which is why you’ve reduced yourself to insults.

                      Do you really think breast feeding is a civil right? Really? Or is it something that the law has decided business owners should put up with? Maybe there’s a host of things like that? ADA accommodations are not civil rights, but they are once again things that the government has said that businesses need to do. It is trivially true businesses do not have carte blanche to do whatever they want. There are, once again, many many consumer protection laws. Accurate prices on items for sale? Well, you could always shop somewhere else, yet the government steps in. War profiteering is something the government steps in for. I argue that this is similar in that it is something the government could step in for. You argue that “Busiensses can do whatever they want”, which is trivially false, and you give the example of a dress code, which is just an inane point.

                      You may go ahead and feel free to disagree with whether you think this is something that should be protected by law, but please, don’t be a fucking moron when you do it.

                    • Charmander says:

                      Can’t make your point without calling someone a fucking moron?

                      That certainly says more about you than the poster you were referring to.

                    • Bladerunner says:

                      I freely admit the response was in anger; while my initial response didn’t directly insult anyway, the poster felt the need to call me “One of the most entitled, illogical posters on this site.” I don’t think I’m going to apologize for being annoyed at being directly insulted, nor do I think it invalidates my point.

          • TrustAvidity says:

            I could easily look past the cost of the concessions if they improved the experience otherwise. Taking more action against disruptive people would be a great start. The endless talking, kids running around the area in front of the screen, the mom with the crying baby she refuses to take into the hall… These are very cliche things but have been incredibly true for me nonetheless. These aren’t kids movies either where I’d be expecting that behavior. I promise you piracy is far from MPAA’s biggest worry with getting people to go to theaters more often, in my opinion at least.

            • TacoDave says:

              Last night I went to a sneak screening of “John Carter.” The old lady next to me – and I am not making this up – waited until the previews were over and the movie had started before pulling out a cellophane-wrapped sandwich (the kind you get at a gas station). She proceeded to noisily unwrap and eat it. Then, she took out a bag of Kettle Chips – the wavy salt and pepper kind – and proceeded to open it and munch on them at an incredible decibel level.

              I wanted to punch her throat.

              • Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

                This is where you get up and get someone from theater management, like an usher, to escort the old biddy out. Unless there were no posted signs about bringing in outside food.

                Then you’d have to move your seat away from her.

        • MutantMonkey says:

          They are going to get their money somehow. Either you will pay exorbitantly higher movie ticket prices or you are going to pay more for the food or you are going to have to start paying more for choice seating.

          Anyone who thinks the food prices will go down and then calls it a day is ignoring the bigger issue which is the price to rent a movie from a studio to show in a theater.

          If people dont want subsidized ticket prices, call the studios.

          • Bladerunner says:

            That’s why the whole system is screwed up; they hid the real price inside. If they’d been charging a real amount for the ticket the whole time, the movie studios would have cut out their ridiculous 90/10 thing a loooong time ago. The fact that they hide the real costs is hurting theaters, but because they all do it they all have to keep doing it. While I doubt this guy has a real case, and feel the answer is more of a legislative one than a tort action, and while I understand that they’ll undoubtedly shift the costs towards the tickets should they lose, philosophically I’m all for it.

            • nobodyman says:

              Wait, did you just state that you want the price of movie theater candy to be… regulated? Look, it’s not like this is car insurance: nobody is forcing you to buy your goddamn red vines. We have enough laws, thankyouverymuch.

              • Bladerunner says:

                I am saying that I want them to either allow outside food/drink, or have non-gouging prices, and that yes, I would like that enshrined in law.

                If you’re going to limit the consumer’s options, then there has to be a quid pro quo.

                • kcvaliant says:

                  They did not limit your option. You can wait for dvd.

                  My god, how self entitled are you people?

                  Private business, their model. Cheaper tickets, expensive food. No outside food allowed.

                  You don’t like it? Open your own theatre and see how consumers respond.

                • kcvaliant says:

                  They did not limit your option. You can wait for dvd.

                  My god, how self entitled are you people?

                  Private business, their model. Cheaper tickets, expensive food. No outside food allowed.

                  You don’t like it? Open your own theatre and see how consumers respond.

                  • Bladerunner says:

                    BS. There are all sorts of laws that protect consumers in varying ways. Your free market utopia where private businesses can do whatever they want doesn’t exist. We can disagree on whether this law is an appropriate use of legislation, but to just fall back on “free market fix all!” thinking when this is about whether a company should have the right to create a closed market is ludicrous. Companies don’t have the right to discriminate; one could just tell minorities “don’t like it? then go elsewhere!” but we’ve decided against that. In many places, women can’t be prevented from breast feeding. There are all sorts of other laws that laready limit the ability of companies to do whatever they want, based on the idea that “just go elsewhere” isn’t always a valid argument.

                    Heck, granted this was in Europe, but M$ got sued for bundling IE too closely to their OS, which could have been responded with “don’t like it, buy another OS or write your own!”

                    • PhantomPumpkin says:

                      Denying someone entrance based on their race is entirely different than charging everyone(regardless of anything other than perhaps a membership card discount) the same ridiculously high price on a product.

                      How far do you want to go with “consumer protection”? My state fair keeps hiking it’s entry prices, and the food inside is ridiculously priced. Should we cover that in the law too? Free corn dogs for everyone?

                    • Bladerunner says:

                      Does your state fair prevent people from bringing in their own food?

                  • loggg says:

                    People complain, but they still buy the snacks. Those are the people who enable this price gouging. We have the power to make theaters change their ways. Just boycott those that gouge and won’t let you bring your own. And if they die, that’s fine, who needs them?

                    Wish people weren’t so careless and forgiving. Where there’s public will, there’s action. We could break the banks, make CEOs take less pay, make health insurers toe the line, make city governments give up their tactic of generating revenue through hardball legal enforcement, and deal with this petty price gouging at theaters if only people would quit playing along with the robbers, quit being such sheep, quit submitting so meekly to fleecing after fleecing.

                • Bsamm09 says:

                  So if they allow outside food and drink but raised movie prices, that would be okay with you?

                  • Bladerunner says:

                    They can charge whatever they feel the need to. I doubt they’d have to increase the ticket prices, but if they want to, they can. I object to them forcing you to use them for food and gouging for that food. I honestly don’t think the no outside food rule should be allowed at all (in which case they can charge whatever they want), but if it is allowed, at the very least there shouldn’t be gouging.

                    • Cerne says:

                      You are aware that a law forcing them to allow outside food would essentially end the right to private property right?

                    • Bladerunner says:

                      No, it wouldn’t. At all. If that was the case, private property would have ended a long time ago, since there’s already restrictions in place for what businesses can and can’t allow or require.

                      Think of smoking: the free market said restaurants should have smoking and non areas, but the government stepped in and said there could be no areas where smoking was allowed. Yet the sky didn’t fall.

                    • Cerne says:

                      Many people see the banning of smoking on private property as a massive infringement on liberty and smoking bans at least have some public health rationale.

                      Your idea goes so far beyond a smoking ban there is no comparison. A business has the right to keep competing products off their property. Do you go out to dinner at a resteruant and bring your own food? That’s what your law would allow.

                      Are you so fucking entitled that you feel you have the right to see a movie and bring your own food? And that the government must massively violate the real rights of others to service your fake right?

                    • Bladerunner says:

                      I’m so entitled I believe that in a country where women are allowed to breastfeed anywhere any time I find it ludicrous that I cannot have my own food.

                      And I like how you shifted yoru argument from “destroying property” to “massive infringement”.

                      If they totally prohibited food, I’d understand, based on having to clean etc., but they aren’t. They very specifically only want to gouge customers.

                      The restaurant comparison isn’t at all valid in any way. You aren’t paying for the privilege of sitting there, you are paying for the food which lets you sit there.

                    • Thopter says:

                      Hey, let’s see if we can’t get these comments squeezed down further to single-word lines.

                    • Greyfox2401 says:

                      why do I have be “entitled” to want to be charged a fair price for concessions?

                • Cerne says:

                  They’re not limiting you options. You can not go to the theatre. If you seriously want to live in a country with those kind of laws I can recommend a few places. China, North Korea or Cuba?

                  • Bladerunner says:

                    You’re an idiot. Really, you are. Europe, for example, limited M$ from being allowed to ship IE because of concerns about browser monopoly, even though it was their OS and you could always get another OS. So don’t play the “you like fascism” game, when you’re the one who likes to let others rule your life.

                  • Greyfox2401 says:

                    I am sick to death of the whole “An American feels he’s been slighted, oh well other countries have it way worse” garbage. You know what if the people of those countries don’t like the way their government treats them they should rebel, it shouldn’t be my problem, the North Korean, Cuban, and Chinese governments know full well that we don’t like the way they treat their citizens and they don’t care.

            • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

              it’s actually closer to 70/30 (studio/theater) for opening weekend, and slowly drops (i believe our rental rate is about 50/50 for The Artist this week.)

          • bluline says:

            Or people can stop going to theaters completely and see the same films at home. As the price of quality home theater systems declines and the price of going to a theater rises, there will come a point where the average theater-goer will decide it’s better and cheaper to just stay home.

        • Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

          How immature is your digestive tract that you simply can’t go 3 hours (2 hours for the movie, 1/2 hour for seating, 1/2 for trailers and assorted ad crap) without eating/drinking?

          If it’s that hard on you, do a Scarlett O’Hara and have something to eat before you go.

      • wkm001 says:

        Most theater patrons don’t care, including myself. Forcing a poor or unfair business model is always the best way to go. Ask the RIAA how that is working out for them.

        • bluline says:

          I agree. I know perfectly well how theaters make their money, but that doesn’t mean I will support it by buying the outrageously priced junk food. I haven’t bought anything at a movie snack bar in at least 30 years, and I probably never will again. And I don’t sneak anything into the theater, either. I can sit easily through a two-hour film without eating or drinking.

      • Varick says:

        Yeah I didn’t realize this until I applied to work for one while in college. They do get some kick backs from studios to keep their movies up longer, months down the road. I can’t believe they’re still theatres around.

        Oh and I didn’t take the job as they offered me a wage much less than minimum.

      • rlmiller007 says:

        Well said. I hope he loses. After all, a movie costs $200 million to make, what would the ticket prices be like without the subsidy.

    • Jawaka says:

      It doesn’t matter. Movie theaters is one of the next industries that will be going extinct soon. Just like the arcade of the 80s that game way to home consoles the movie theater will eventually give way to 50+ inch surround sound home theaters and Netflix/Redbox/streaming.

  3. Admiral_John says:

    So does this mean I can sue my local convenience store for over-charging for bread and milk?

    • FilthyHarry says:

      Only if your local convenience store somehow prevented you from buying bread and milk from some place else.

      • SBR249 says:

        Only if your local convenience store somehow prevented you from buying bread and milk from some place else after you’ve set foot in the store voluntarily and agreed to stay there for 2+ hours.

        There fixed that for ya…

        • Bladerunner says:

          After you’ve paid them for the privilege of sitting in there for 2+ hours. There, fixed that for ya.

          • mackjaz says:

            Sorry, but it’s still their business and they can regulate certain behaviors however they want. You wouldn’t walk into a McDonalds and spread out a Burger King picnic, then expect the employees to clean up after you.

            Bottom line: No one is forcing anyone to do anything.

            • Bladerunner says:

              Once again, the restaurant analogy is in no way valid. At a restaurant, you are given free entrance in exchange for purchasing food. At this place, you’re paying for the privilege of seeing a movie. The concessions issue is separate.

    • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

      Yes. Yes it does.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I don’t like the price of a lot of things. It doesn’t mean I sue everyone. My coffee this morning was $2.25 and I’d rather pay $1.85. I don’t sue; I go to a different coffee shop.

    • Stickdude says:

      But you’re not a spoiled 20-something who thinks he’s entitled to pay only as much as he feels like paying, like the plaintiff in this lawsuit.

    • Tyanna says:

      What other movie theater is he to go to? We all know movie theaters gouge you for the price of concessions. We’ve just accepted it as the way it is, but why?

      I don’t think he’ll win, but perhaps it’s time we started making more of a fuss about this. *shrugs*

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Second run theaters usually don’t charge as much for concessions. He could not partake in concessions. Or he could just keep bringing his own like he used to, and like how lots of people do regardless of the written rules.

    • nicless says:

      This analogy doesn’t really work though. If he goes to another movie theater, it’s still $8 for candy and pop.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      Here is the difference: Whey you buy coffee, you go to where you are buying coffee in order to…well…buy coffee (usually).

      The problem is when you pay to go to an event (movies, concert, opera, etc) and they say “you can’t bring outside food or beverage.” Then the event goes on for up to 3 hours (or more) in some cases. It is reasonable for someone to need food or drink over that length of time. To then charge several times more than a reasonable price for those items is the issue. The customer, who needs food or drink, is forced to pay far more than they normally would.

      This happens in places like theme parks too, but that seems more acceptable.

      • chefboyardee says:

        Meh, don’t go to said event/movie if it bothers you so much. Or start your own movie theater and fix it. Or go to the second-run theaters. Nobody is forcing him to watch movies. I haven’t gone to a movie theater since I was 16 (I’m over 30 now) and my life somehow still has meaning…

        • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

          I’m not saying I, in particular, think this is a big issue. Actually, I think it is more of an issue when it comes to concerts.

          For instance, you buy tickets to an out door concert, and it’s hot as heck out. No water fountains for free water, and all they have is $8 bottles of water that you could buy at 7-11 for $1. You can’t bring water in (they search you and throw it away), and if you don’t want to dehydrate at the day long concert, you have to buy the $8 water. And of course, while the ticket may say “no outside food or drink”, it never said there would be 800% mark up on water.

          That, I feel, is unfair.

          • PhantomPumpkin says:

            Unfair yes. Illegal? No.

            Remember, just because something is unfair doesn’t mean it’s illegal.

        • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

          Also…in the movie theater example…when you go to buy the ticket at the ticket counter, do you ask “Before I buy this ticket, how much is your soda? Your popcorn?” Probably not.

          Then you walk in and go, “Holy cow, this is expensive!” They won’t give you a refund if you say, “I’m leaving because you charge too much for snacks.” He is stuck.

          Now I agree, if he doesn’t like it, don’t go back…but it’s not like something he would know prior to buying the ticket, if he was never at that theater before. (Granted, he could have just assumed it’d be so expensive, since that is usally the case.)

          • StarKillerX says:

            Well since he said he had been bringing his own until the put a sign up you couldn’t, so I would think it was safe to assume he knew they were over priced long before the visit he is suing for.

            • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

              That is true, I noticed that in the article…which is why I’m not quite sympathetic with this particular guy’s senario.

      • Cerne says:

        What? You are ware you have the choice of not going right?

        • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

          There is an expectation of things being priced at a premium. Then, there are times, when pricing is unreasonable. A $2 soda selling for $4 is not crazy, but for $6 might be considered unreasonable.

          This is pricing a customer wouldn’t know about until they actually bought the ticket, which they can’t get refunded once they see the food prices.

          • Cerne says:

            Yah considering prices for theatre concessions have been a source of jokes since before I was born I don’t think ignorance is going to get you very far. Not to mention most theatre let you buy snacks without buying a ticket. And the fact that you can ask the about prices before hand. And the fact that the ticket lets you see the movie, nothing more nothing less.

            There is no legal grounds for complaint here.

    • You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

      Hi, pecan 3.14159265! You’ve been missed around here!

  5. Straspey says:

    “Man Sues Movie Theater Over Price Of Snacks”

    Well – Here is something which may also be of interest to the Consumerist Community:

    This happens to be – “National Consumer Protection Week 2012″

    And yet – nobody at The Consumerist seems to think that’s of any importance:

    Welcome to the fourteenth annual National Consumer Protection Week, March 4-10, 2012 and NCPW.gov, the site visited by hundreds of thousands of people in 2011.

    NCPW.gov, your “information destination,” hosts an incredible variety of resources on topics that matter to the nation’s consumers.

    The information offered by the ever-growing list of NCPW partners is both out of this world and within easy reach of people looking for practical and actionable tips on managing credit and debt, avoiding ID theft, fighting scams and fraud, understanding technology and how to use it safely, and much more.

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/ncpw/index.shtml

    No doubt I’ll get slammed for posting something which has nothing to do with the topic of the article — but really folks – This is NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK 2012 !! – Don’t you think that should be of at least passing interest on a website with the name of “The Consumerist” ??

    • nicless says:

      Why would a website that is concentrated on consumer issues 52 weeks a year want to divert traffic to a site that concentrates on it 1 week a year?

      • Stickdude says:

        Where is this website that concentrates on consumer issues 52 weeks a year?

        Do you have a URL you can share?

        • nicless says:

          Yeah, the link is http://www.yourmom.com

          SICK BURN!

          I probably wouldn’t go there at work, I have literally no idea what that site is about but it probably is NSFW. There is at least 1 article a week related to consumer issues on this site!

  6. crispyduck13 says:

    Jackass. If you don’t like it go to another movie theater or get yourself a Netflix subscription. I notice he’s not bitching about the actual ticket cost, how could possibly not know that they are gouging him there too?

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      Maybe because they really aren’t, most likely. The theater has little say in the matter, and almost all that money goes right to the studio. That is why the snacks cost a fortune.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        I get what you’re saying, I’m simply making fun of the guy. How does he know that the ticket prices the Hollywood studios set aren’t price fixing/gouging? He doesn’t, he’ll pay that ticket price in blissfull ignorance but freak out when he the snacks he chooses to buy cost more than the grocery store down the street.

        • These Are Not My Pants says:

          There’s a lot more parity in ticket prices between theaters than there is between theater snacks and the same products at CVS. He may or may not know if he’s being overcharged on the tickets, but his options are pretty limited if he wants to watch a movie in a theater.

    • bigTrue says:

      This is near Detroit. AMC and Emagine are our two major theaters. They both offer 5 dollar matinees until 5pm, every day.

    • missy070203 says:

      that’s why I love the drive inns…. yeah the movies are 2 months late but you can pack a cooler or bring some KFC taters…

      Hell you can do almost anything you want at the drive inn… I’m pretty sure my daughter was conceived at a drive inn…..

  7. mrvw says:

    Just sneak in your own snacks and don’t complain. I bring in a bottled beverage and candy, then buy a small popcorn. at least that is only $4 or $5

  8. Buckus says:

    “Kids, get ready for the most expensive meal you’ve ever had!

    2 large popcorns, 2 large sodas, and a box of Jawbreakers, please.

    That’ll be $60.”

  9. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Maybe he can lump his lawsuit in with the Michigan lady who is suing the movie Drive for not being enough like Gone in 60 Seconds.

  10. jsweitz says:

    I suggest he does what I do. Don’t go to the movies. Wait until the movie goes to DVD:
    Redbox DVD rental $1.20 + $2.73 for coke and goobers = $3.93

    • Buckus says:

      Git yourself a 60-inch TV with some surround sound and it’s practically as good as the movie theater, and it will pay for itself 10 times over from the savings.

      • shepd says:

        Eff that, 120″ 1080p DLP projection + nice sound system + dark brown/black paint + riser + buttkickers == WAY better than theatre experience. And hardly more expensive than a 60″ TV, if you’re smart about it.

        I only go out to drive-ins for movies now, but that’s only because I don’t have a garage. :P

    • mommiest says:

      We have Family Movie Night on a regular basis. I can buy a blu ray for much less than it costs to take the four of us to a movie. I can serve whatever snacks and drinks I want. We can pause for intermission. My kids are now teens, and it gives us something to do together. It’s all good.

  11. consumed says:

    This is why I stopped going to movie theaters. If they are going to charge $5 for a bottle of water and won’t let me bring my own, I’ll just wait till the movie comes out on disc or Netflix.

    • Jack T Ripper says:

      “won’t let” you bring your own? Unless you are bringing a backpack full of treats, I really don’t see how they are going to stop you. They don’t do pat downs before taking your ticket stub. I NEVER pay for snacks at the theater. That’s why God invented cargo pockets and large purses. How much candy do you really need to eat in order to enjoy a movie anyway? A bag of twizzlers and a 20 ounce soda should be just fine for a couple hours.

      • Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (‚ïج∞‚ñ°¬∞Ôºâ‚ïØÂΩ°‚îÅ‚îª says:

        Movie theater’s round these parts actually deny entrance without inspecting bags “for safety”

        • sea0tter12 says:

          A bottle of soda fits perfectly rolled up in my newspaper in the plastic bag it’s delivered in. And sandwiches fit into a manila envelope. I went to a week-long event (Nat’l Figure Skating Championships) that lasted 7+ hours a day. I snuck four PB&Js, 2 soda bottles (to be filled with water later) and bags of trail mix in every day in my messenger bag. And they searched my bag holding all of this each day and never found a thing. There are ways to hide stuff.

        • Jawaka says:

          Well to be fair there’s no reason to be carrying bags into a theater.

  12. catskyfire says:

    As I understand it, most of the ticket prices go to the distributors/film studios. The concessions are how the theaters actually make money (as well as pay for equipment, staff, rent, etc.)

    They could do cheaper concessions…by charging for other things. “Oh, you’d like to sit in the middle, with the best view? Extra 12 bucks, please….”

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      One of my theaters charges an extra $2 for reserved seating. When you buy your tickets, you can look at the seating chart to see the open seats and reserve your location. It’s actually really helpful because then you don’t walk into a theater and realize it’s packed and you’re stuffed into the front two rows. But it’s an extra $2.

      I don’t like the price of concessions…but I don’t eat popcorn very often (maybe 4 times a year?) so that $5 is okay. Also, I’m an AMC Stubs member and I get a free upgrade, so I pay for a small and get a medium.

      • scoutermac says:

        But wouldn’t someone that did not reserve a seat just sit in your seat before you arrive?

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          The option to choose your seat is attached with a specific showing. Let’s say the 8:30 pm showing in Theater 4 is reserved seating only. The 8:30 pm showing in Theater 6 has no such option, but if you want to pay the $2 to reserve your seat, you choose the showing in Theater 4. Everyone who goes to the 8:30 pm showing in Theater 4 has to reserve their seats.

      • ToddMU03 says:

        Or if you know it is going to be a popular movie do something like show up early.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          A lot of the movies we see are pretty popular so we frequently wait in line an hour prior to showtime just so we can get good seats. Our favored theater doesn’t offer the option to reserve seats, either.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        Oooh, I wish they would do that around here. But then again, we can usually sit wherever we want at any show before 3pm if we get there at least 15 minutes early. With a kid in 4th grade, we’re not allowed to go out on school nights. :)

    • elangomatt says:

      If most or all of the ticket go to the movie studios, then why is there such a large variance in ticket prices? The most expensive ticket for a non-3d evening show in any of the 3 local movie theaters is $7. How am I only paying $7 for the same exact movie that others are paying upwards of $12 or $15 for at other places?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        The reason why the studios and theaters can get away with ridiculous pricing is that people still go. I only go to the theater a handful of times a year but lots of people go all the time. They’re willing to pay the prices, so the prices remain.

        If lots and lots of people stopped going because of the high ticket prices, business would suffer and the studios and companies would be forced to change. Chances are, it wouldn’t be a lower ticket price, just more “perks” to get you in the door.

      • cigsm says:

        Hey fat ass, don’t eat at the movies then!

        • elangomatt says:

          Yeah I’m gonna assume that that is a commenting system fail and not a comment towards me. I never even mentioned the price of eating anything at the movies.

    • jayphat says:

      You are correct. Someone had a breakdown that showed the ticket costs a few months back. In the first week release, the studio takes a 90/10 split from the theater, and I mean the studio gets 90%. Then it drops to 80/20. Then it varies from there, but that’s why studios get so heavily invested in how well that opening weekend is. It’s pretty much all going to them.

    • conquestofbread says:

      That is exactly the problem. The studios WAY WAY overvalue the salary of the celebrities and awful scripts, which causes them to have massive production costs, which they then have to recoup by charging the theatres way too much to show the movies.

      Maybe if they paid less for “talent” and made movies that people actually wanted to see, they wouldn’t need to charge so much money per ticket to recoup their losses, leaving more room for profit for theatre owners so they don’t have to charge obscene prices at the concession.

    • Jawaka says:

      How long would it be before a person paid extra for the seating of their choice, walked into the theater and found that it was 3/4 empty and those seats were available anyways and sued the theater for it?

  13. cameronl says:

    What is with people that feel they can’t go 1.5 hours with out eating?

    Don’t like the prices? Don’t snack. You won’t starve.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      You made me chuckle because I also don’t understand this snacking need people seem to have. Another big reason I don’t go to the movies is because I don’t like paying to hear 200 people around me crunching popcorn and answering their cell phones.

      The main reason of course, is because there hasn’t been a movie worth seeing in quite a long time.

      • BD2008 says:

        I just saw Thin Ice with Alan Arkin and Greg Kinnear. It was good. You should check it out.

    • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

      A+++++++++++++

      Do your body a favor, put down the snacks and sugary drinks. You CAN make it through a movie without it.

    • tbax929 says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I have a 100-inch screen and a kick-ass sound system in my home, but I still go to the movies from time to time; there are some movies I have to see in the theater. My next one is Hunger Games.

      However, I’m not affected by concession stand prices. Not because I sneak in my own but because I can survive a couple of hours without putting something in my damn pie hole. No wonder there’s an obesity epidemic. Heaven forbid people go a couple of hours without eating or drinking.

      • Debbie says:

        I agree with you. Once a year or so a movie comes out that needs a theater to look its best. The Lord of the Rings series comes to mind- the only movies I’ve seen in a theater twice. And I’m 50. Everything else can wait for DVD.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      As a bonus, you also will be less likely to require a trip to the bathroom when the movie hits a good part.

    • orion70 says:

      People aren’t eating in movie theatres because they feel they’ll starve to death otherwise. Do you never eat for pleasure? Some people, plain and simple, just like to have a little movie theatre popcorn, and the few times a year they indulge is not going to kill them or turn them into a “fatass”.

  14. shufflemoomin says:

    How the F**K is this something to sue over? He has no NEED to eat while at the movies. Hell, he’s got no NEED to go to the movies at all. If you don’t like the rules of a place: don’t go. If you don’t agree with the price of the place: don’t go. Damn you Americans for thinking you can sue for every little thing you don’t like and damn you American lawyers for even entertaining a case like this. A business has every right to charge what they want and you’ve got every right not to pay it.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      This guy does not have the brains to figure out other options such as ‘no movie’, ‘save more money for a movie night’, or ‘rent a movie’. Nahhhh that’s too much for his pee-brain to contemplate. I’ve noticed that a lot of men in this country have turned into momma-boy’s that whine and sue instead of acting like men. This guy is a perfect example.

  15. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    I NEED theater nachos every time I go to the movies ! I will pay whatever you want for them !!!

  16. dush says:

    The guy loves his soda and candy a bit too much if he can’t sit through a two hours movie without them.

  17. scoutermac says:

    I can’t imagine he would win this law suit.

  18. yurei avalon says:

    I always smuggle in my own food. If they start pricing food reasonably, I’ll buy it from them. Until then, forget about it.

  19. littlebigland says:

    Ah, one of the advantages of being a woman. Nobody blinks an eye if I walk in with a large handbag ;)

    I sneak snacks in all the time. It’s not price, it’s because of the crap. I’d much rather smuggle in a healthy snack or meal. When the movie theaters start offering meat, veggies and fruit, maybe I’ll consider buying snacks at the movie theaters.

  20. RedOryx says:

    From the article: “Thompson didn’t want to be interviewed because he doesn’t want any notoriety”

    Don’t want notoriety? Then don’t sue a movie theater because you think the concession prices are too high, ffs.

    I love the movies and agree prices are kinda crazy. Which is why I go to the local theater group that has a rewards program where I can get free food and drinks and tickets depending on how often I go. Kind of like AMC does: https://www.amcstubs.com/

  21. RandomHookup says:

    He will end up winning $75,000 or a voucher for 3 of those big boxes of Junior Mints, a refillable large Diet Coke and a tub of their largest popcorn.

  22. WyomingGunAndHuntingEnthusiast says:

    I have friends that used to manage and work at Cinemark and Regal and the price you pay for the movie ticket goes straight back to the studio and on top of it the theatre has to pay for the film as well, the theatre only makes money from concessions and since ticket costs went up fewer people purchase concessions so they mark the price up to compensate, the people he should really blame here is Hollywood and the studios.

    • frank64 says:

      The business model is screwed up. The real story should be how the studios treat the theaters that forces them to over charge for the food. I think it is still OK to bring in your own food because we shouldn’t be asked to accept the flawed system.

      The pricing system is kind of like banks offering free checking and making money on the overdrafts.

      • WyomingGunAndHuntingEnthusiast says:

        I agree the whole system needs to change; the movie industry needs to leave some of the profit from ticket sales to the theatre which would then lower concession prices. I also believe that the studios are more likely than not over charging for the film that the theatre has to purchase as well, it’s a corrupt system just like the government.

  23. elangomatt says:

    Am I the only one that finds it funny that this guy’s moral compass won’t allow him to violate a sign in the theater barring outside food/drink, but he has no problem lawyering up and suing the theater.

    The price of snacks at the theater is no different than the gas stations marking prices up in their stores. Gas stations don’t make most of their profits from gas sales, just like theaters don’t make most of the profits from ticket sales.

    • sopmodm14 says:

      agreed, that guy is an idiot

      he probably wanted to bring in a bottled water……….the markup on those is like, 1000 %, so i don’t see him suing poland spring

      many ppl also eat before or after a movie, which is only a part of a night out

      why doesn’t he eat the $3 worth of grocery food/snacks just before the movie starts ? they do post the showtimes after all

    • poehitman says:

      There’s a difference between marking up prices to make a profit, and price gouging. The trick is knowing where that line is. I don’t know Michigan law, so I don’t know if this suit has merit. But I’d be interested to see if it works. But what about sporting events? Those prices are just as outrageous.

  24. Bor&Mitch says:

    Silly man. Next he’ll be suing his local NFL and MLB teams for the prices the stadiums charge for food. Newsflash – the price you pay for the ticket doesn’t keep the theatre in business, just like the gas you buy for your car barely keeps the station in the black. The movie and the gas are just the draws to get you to buy the stuff that turns a profit.

  25. SRK says:

    This is ridiculous! If you don’t like the cost of something, go elsewhere. The same is true anytime you feel that strongly about the way a company does something. Vote with your dollars! If people didn’t pay the price, they couldn’t charge those prices.

    It seems lately that people think they are entitled to whatever they want at their own price and that making a profit is evil.

  26. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    He may have a case. I just googled the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and found the following in it, lifted verbatim from:

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/consumer_protection_act_54984_7.htm

    (z) Charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold.

    Depends upon your definition of grossly. Movie snacks are very similar- you can find the exact item in possibly different packaging for significantly less for the same quantity.

  27. az123 says:

    I avoid AMC because their theaters are crappy and their concessions overpriced. I am lucky there is a better large chain locally and as for their concessions… once a year I have to pay $5 for a “collector cup” with my drink in it and then take the cup back with me and I only pay $1 for a refill. If I choose to get popcorn that is a few bucks but to the point of many I can live through a movie without eating, but it is nice to have a drink.

    I also do get the whole cost thing, most theaters make nothing off the sale of the ticket, all of their profit is in concessions. Sure if everyone who came in purchased popcorn and a soda they would make enough money to pay the bills with lower prices, but not everyone does and hey no profit means no theaters

  28. Cat says:

    Time to find a drive in for this summer. I heard there is one about 45 minutes away.

    Ah, here it is: http://www.drive-ins.com/

    Bring in whatever food I want, use my car sound system, lawn chairs, blankets… and even if I did buy food there, it’s not too expensive.
    I remember when I was a teen bringing a half barrel in the back of a Jeep Cherokee. Try that at a fancy ass movie house!

    • Bor&Mitch says:

      We have a drive in near the NYC area – http://www.warwickdrivein.com/. In their ettiquette section they have the following : “Buy your snacks from the refreshment stand. Theaters make little money on the admission cost because a large percentage has to be returned to the film distributors. The drive-in’s main source of income is its concession sales. Keep your drive-in in business; visit the snack bar often!”

  29. markedward says:

    I used to work in a movie theater, so here’s the thing on pricing:

    The tickets cost a lot, but the majority of that price goes to paying off the movie reel that the theater had to acquire. When I finished at the theater (2005), the place I worked was reportedly making only a $0.50 profit off of ticket prices, and that was with adult matinee tickets costing about $7.50.

    Because of this, the concession stand is effectively what keeps the theater running (along with the ads before the movie, which, if you’ll notice, contain several ‘buy ad space here’ slides). That is where the majority of the profit comes from, which explains why a bottle of water is jacked up to $4.00 when you could buy it for $1.50 across the street at a gas station, or a box of Hot Tamales costs $5.00 when you could get a (much larger) box at the gas station for $2.00. The theater knows they’re gouging the prices, but they’re relying on the fact that most movie-goers don’t think to go to the convenience store before coming into the theater.

  30. Charmander says:

    I don’t get it. How are you being “taken advantage of?”You are not forced to buy anything at the concession stand at a movie theater. Eat before you go, so you are not hungry.

    And actually, that’s how movie theaters make their profits – not by movie tickets, but on concessions. So, if you really want to continue going to see movies at your local theater, please don’t sue them over the main thing that allows them to stay open.

  31. gedster314 says:

    The pricing is ridiculous. Last year, I only went to the movies once and not once in 2012. The movies lately are plain crap. Last time I bought from the concession stand it was $10 a ticket and a medium soda and small popcorn was $8.50.

    How about the cost of drinks and ballparks, stadiums, clubs and concert venues. I went to Club Nokia and a cup of Bud was $8 and a Stella was $12 It wasn’t enough that the Ticketmaster charged $5 service charge, a $2 charge to print a ticket on my own printer, a $2.50 venue charge and $15 for parking. Then they decide to rape you on the drinks too.

    People just don’t have a conscience anymore, everyone just want to take advantage you.

    • Bor&Mitch says:

      You bet..whenever a captive consumer, whether at a stadium, an amusement park or a cruise ship, you’re not going to be paying open market prices.

  32. dpeters11 says:

    Theater snack prices have been higher than grocery store prices for years. Many years in fact. It’s not a news flash.

    Personally, I’m cutting back because the oils and fake butter they use now don’t agree with me.

    Funny thing is, I think AMC is better than some others. If you go a lot, get their new movie card, and you get upsized free. Just buy a small drink (still expensive but better), you get a medium.

  33. Chipzilla says:

    1. Stay at home.
    2. Download the latest releases on bittorrent.
    3 . ??
    4. Profit

  34. kella says:

    Good riddance to movie theatres. After I waited through 1/2 an hour of commercials before Avatar I decided I was done seeing movies in the theatre. Now, when I see a good a preview I add it to my Netflix queue. I’ll see it eventually. I don’t think movie theaters will last much longer, how will the new generation sit through 2 hours without texting?

    Besides, I have a 50″ screen and surround sound at home, and I don’t have to sit next to strangers there.

  35. Invader Zim says:

    I make a sport of smuggling food in. Its sweet to be eating a hamburger and fries while others pay three times more for popcorn. It also make movie going more of a thrill.

  36. Cicadymn says:

    Movie Night:

    1. Nice Dinner
    2. Movie in a moderately priced well maintained theater

    We only do it a couple times a year because there are only a couple movies out a year that we ever care to see. And having dinner before hand means we’re not hungry or thirsty during the movie.

  37. eezy-peezy says:

    Go to a nice restaurant ( maybe an all-you-can-eat buffet?) before the movie. Sit, watch movie, and burp. Problem solved.

  38. PLATTWORX says:

    “The plaintiff alleges that such pricing is a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and is seeking refunds for all customers who were overcharged.”

    I doubt that the spirit of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act was to tell business what they can and can not charge for merchandise. The business model of most movie theaters is that they make very little on the movie admission tickets in profit (mostly goes to distributors/studio) and they make the bulk of their profits on concessions.

    Their telling people they can’t bring in their own food is the same as a restaurant saying you can’t bring in your own food. Not a thing wrong with it as it’s a private business. Is he going to sue restaurants next? I think he’ll find he can prepare most restaurant offerings at home for a fraction of what a restaurant charges for the prepared meal. Is that also a violation of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act?

    This case will be thrown out and he SHOULD be forced to pay AMC’s legal fees.

  39. StarKillerX says:

    That’s it, I’m going to sue the bar I went to last weekend, I went for the band and they wouldn’t allow me to bring in my own drinks and instead forced me to buy their overpriced ones! lol!

    Pathetic!

    It’s cases like this one that not only should be tossed out of court but this guy should be required to pay the legal fees of AMC.

  40. cigsm says:

    I don’t like the price of Ferarri’s. They’re too damn high!

    So I’m going to sue them to make them more affordable!

  41. Bladerunner says:

    I’m surprised at the vitriol against the guy here. The problem is not the prices directly, it is the fact that they’re requiring you to pay them. If they allowed outside food and drink, this would not be an issue, they’re welcome to charge whatever they want but you have options. By preventing you from bringing in outside food and drink, they have changed the game. And they are not alone; this is an industry-wide phenomenon. As some have said, gouging the customers in this way is “how they make their money”. Well, that’s not our problem.

    This is not like a restaurant, which has free admission predicated on the buying of food, so to the poster who equated the two, you’re an idiot.

    The problem here is that you are buying a ticket for a specific thing (to view a movie). Then, once through the door, they tack on ridiculous rules that have no bearing on safety of any kind and that make the experience limited and more expensive.

    They could solve this problem by allowing outside food and drink (and, honestly, most people probably still wouldn’t bring in their own, but at least they’d have the option).

    If they can’t make their money on ticket sales and voluntary concessions, then they need to raise their ticket prices, not attempt to hide and mislead customers, then cry poverty and attempt to get sympathy when there’s backlash.

    • Bor&Mitch says:

      If you owned a theatre you would raise the price of a ticket to say $20, while allowing people to bring their own food in? While the theatre across the street from you is still charging people $12, and making money off concessions?

      The fact that your idea hasn’t taken off in the free market place should tell you something.

      • dpeters11 says:

        Maybe a drive in. We have one that has a $5 per car fee for bringing your own food. The pass includes a $2 coupon off popcorn.

        Not a bad policy all in all. They ban grilling and alcohol however.

      • Bladerunner says:

        BS. First off, I wouldn’t need to charge and additional $8 a person. That’s just ludicrous; if you’re really going to make the case that the average patron makes $8 in profit due to concessions, please, citation!

        Secondly, there are many examples of the “free market” not doing the thing that’s best for the free market. In this case, consumers are being consistently misled. The problem is that because they ALL do it, if they don’t do it, the consumer is likely to assume “Hmm, that’s more expensive and the concessions are likely to be the same price. Why would I go there?” rather than “Hmmm, that place looks legit!” When a business model is consistently corrupt, it is difficult to break the cycle without legislation. (Look how the “free market” handled the meat industry until the government finally stepped in after the public outcry following Upton “why doesn’t anyone notice my book was really about communism” Sinclair’s book.)

        • Bor&Mitch says:

          So you’re suggesting the government step in to regulate the theatre industry? Because clearly the open market isn’t incenting theatre owners to allow people to bring in their own food.

          • Bladerunner says:

            I’m arguing that I don’t necessarily even believe that theater owners should have the right to tell patrons they can’t bring in food to their theater.

    • Cerne says:

      You really don’t like living in a free society do you?

      • Bladerunner says:

        You don’t know what a free society is, clearly. It is not “let the corporations do whatever they want”.

        • Cerne says:

          This isn’t letting corporations do what ever they want. This is letting property owners decide what happens on their property.

          • Bladerunner says:

            Which is already something that is limited to a great extent once you become a business that is open to the public and to pretend otherwise is to be willfully ignorant.

            I can see you’re in favor of much freer property laws than are already extant; I don’t necessarily fault it, but I ask you to consider the world as it is, not the world as you’d like it to be. As things are now, there are already tons of limitations. ADA, Discrimination, breastfeeding moms, non-smoking areas, are all already in existence. How is this drastically different from those situations, particularly the breastfeeding and non-smoking?

            The question is, when you are selling an event, should you also have the right to gouge consumers on the inside and create a forced market. People buying tickets are buying tickets to an event. If they disallowed food completely, they’d have a leg to stand on, but they allow food, they just want to gouge consumers. That is exactly and only all it is: they want to be open to the public but able to gouge consumers. There are myriad laws already to address various ways companies would like to do this, and I fail to see how this is vastly different than those other ways.

            • mackjaz says:

              “The question is, when you are selling an event, should you also have the right to gouge consumers on the inside and create a forced market?”

              Yes. Just as I as the consumer, have the right NOT to buy that product or enter that business whose limitations I do not agree with.

              • Bladerunner says:

                That logic only goes so far, though. As I’ve already noted, there are multiple examples of ways that the government has already stepped in; I think the breastfeeding one is the most relevant to the present discussion.

              • Bladerunner says:

                That argument is a tired one. Businesses have many rights limited. I live in the desert; some businesses are required to offer water for free.

                Once you open a business, you sign up for regulation and limitation. Your argument could just as easily to applied to be against discrimination laws, or fair dealing laws. Why is this different than breastfeeding, or cooloff periods, or ADA accommodations?

  42. CharlesFarley says:

    Being willing to wait a month or two, I pay the $5 or $6 for On Demand from my cable company and I can watch the movie in the privacy of my home, eat what ever I want, pause the movie and come back to it, etc….

    No cell phone/texting interruptions, no chattering teens, no crying babies.

    Wonderful.

  43. BewareofZealots says:

    Has this guy been to an airport lately? He got a deal at the theater. He paid less for his food and got to sit in comfortable seats without anyone kicking the back of his chair, or kids screaming.

    And he got to watch a movie. Try that on a plane.

  44. JaundiceJames says:

    If AMC or United Artists has to gouge their customers on concessions to make money (which I seriously doubt – I bet their stockholders are doing well and their CEO is flying around in a private jet to go play rounds of golf) then the system’s broken. (Does Nick Cage need four mansions?)

    Fix the system that screws Americans – don’t just say “Oh, the poor movie theatre has to make money”. They use concession money to buy up all those mom and pop theatres and get rid of competition so they can behave however they choose.

    For all you free-market types, remember that if this was a free market I’d be able to bring in my own food and United Artists or whoever would have to compete with Safeway for my concession dollars.

    • Cerne says:

      Yah that’s not how a free market works. In a free market you can choose to go see a movie or nor. In a free market you can open your own theatre with a different business model. What you can’t do is piss all over someone else’s property rights.

  45. SloppyJoe says:

    Don’t like it? Don’t buy it!

  46. blueman says:

    Only in America can people not go an hour and a half without gorging on fattening foods and soda pop. Talk about your first-world problems.

    • tbax929 says:

      It’s not only in America. When is the last time you visited a Western European country? I was astonished by how many obese folks are waddling around in England and Germany – and these weren’t American tourists, either.

  47. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Just adding into the chorus.

    As noted previously, movie theaters often make little margin on ticket sales. Especially on new releases. They have high overhead, and have to actually make their money on concession sales.

    It’s the way it is. You can either accept that theaters have to make enough money to stay in operation, or you can wait until a movie is avaialble for you to buy/rent on your own at home.

    GTF over it.

  48. Not Given says:

    It’s just like going to the circus. They come to town and con some naive businessman into sponsoring them in exchange for a percentage of the ticket sales. They give the guy a bunch of free tickets to pass out, then they make all their money on consessions.

  49. kataisa says:

    I admire this man’s lawsuit whether he wins or (most likely) not. Movie theaters should not be allowed to ban food and drink from outside. Some people need to eat certain foods at various times for medical reasons, and no, that’s not an invitation for movie theaters to start frisking people and checking their medical records.

    • Cerne says:

      Yah how dare owners of private property have any control over what happens on it!

      If you have a medical condition that requires food all the time either ask the manager for an exception or rent a DvD. Don`t infringe on the rights of others.

  50. dourdan says:

    “but stopped when management posted a sign saying customers could no longer bring in outside eats”

    is is implying they were allowing outside food? as far as i know, from all my year of going to the movies NO theatre has even allowed outside food.

    so yeah, he should stick to sneaking in food. as long as you are not an a-hole about it you will not get kicked out. (but considering the guy has the balls to sue amc, i think he might be the type of person to walk in with a grocery bag just to prove a point.)

    • Bladerunner says:

      A lot of places (I’ve noticed) have stopped having signs, or if they’re there they’re less obtrusive. I was being pedantic to the fiance about her bringing in outside food or drink and stopped when I realized there weren’t any signs any more.

  51. apember says:

    We live in a capitalistic society. Competition or lack of it (in this case) drives the price of goods and services. Movie theaters as with everyone else attempt price items to maximize profits. Charge too little and they sell a lot but make no money. Charge too much and the make a large profit per item, but sell very few items. Put another way, if someone has a unique skill that is in high demand, would anyone accept a low wage to be a nice guy. If the price was really too high no one would buy the stuff. Personally I prefer not to pay the high price for stuff from the concession stand at the movies. As far as bringing items purchased outside the theater goes, it is private property and they have a right to do that.

  52. mopman64 says:

    I make my own Goobers at home.

  53. SilverBlade2k says:

    If he wins this lawsuit (bloody unlikely), but lets say IF. The movie theater will probably lower the prices of the snacks, but then you’d see a dramatic increase of the price of the ticket to offset the loss at the concession stands.

    Consumer doesn’t win, as they will pay regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit.

  54. framitz says:

    I don’t see any real chance for this suit.

    If the price is too high, do not buy.
    If you can’t go a couple of hours without food and drink you have issues, either physical or mental, or both.

    Since I absolutely can not stay awake through any movie in a theater, I just watch movies at home so there’s no loss when I fall asleep.

  55. sopmodm14 says:

    also, spending an extra $10 b/c you didn’t plan ahead isn’t that big a deal every now-and-then for the occassional movie night out w/friends or a date

    i’ll bet he also complains that drinks at a bar are more expensive than at a grocery store too, lol

    and when paying, the price is disclosed, so he voluntarily authorized the purchase !!

    if he didn’t like the price, he could’ve just stepped off the line !! what kinda imbecile is this !!

    when i go bowling, i don’t sue them b/c i want to wear my sneakers instead of renting them everytime

  56. sopmodm14 says:

    its also NOT price-gouging, as its not with-holding anything vital to life, such as water or first aid supplies after a tornado

    its just a mark-up from MSRP, no different than the car he bought to get to movie theater, or the gas he pumped into the car, or the clothes he wore, etc…

  57. Debbie says:

    Please. Except for those with diseases like diabetes and hypoglycemia, most of us can stop eating and drinking for 2 hours.

  58. shthar says:

    I’d go local, and take away thier licenses to sell foodstuffs.

    If I wanted to pay $10 to see a movie, that is…

  59. Froggee285 says:

    Only an idiot would go to the movie theatre nowadays, with on demand cable services and the internet, not to mention DVDs. The price for ONE DVD is less than two adult tickets. Movie theatres are dirty, smelly, sticky, the bathrooms are never ever clean, the food is overpriced, and people forget how to act in public once they enter the dimly lit room.

  60. Charmander says:

    “……… it is the fact that they’re requiring you to pay them.”

    Um, no.

    I go to the movies regularly, and I am not required to buy anything, outside of the movie ticket.

  61. Levk says:

    Well that is how they make there money, sadly no other way. Unless you don’t mind waiting till the movie is no longer new. But really I buy some stuff and bring some in from outside, candy i bring from outside, hotdogs, popcorn and soda i would buy there. Its expensive but really i like movie theaters and just because hollywood putting shit out don’t mean they should suffer.

  62. Razor512 says:

    what is wrong with some of the people here?

    the theatre is doing 100% nothing illegal.

    The movie and the food are not separate businesses, it is all one business and they can set their own rules.

    They can charge what ever they want (they can even charge $10000000000 for the popcorn if they wanted. The thing is you have the option to not do business with them.

    The theaters make enough money from the ads before the movie to pay everyone and keep the place running. The food sales are just bonuses to the owner.

    if you don’t like the prices then don’t go. If enough people do this then they will change their business practice. And remember, while changes usually happen from the top down, they can also move from the bottom up.

    If the market wont accept a certain price, then for the service to exist, they will have to adjust pricing.

    The theater has more bargaining power than the film industry. Eg how much money do you think the movie avatar would have made if stores and theaters refused to sell the product?

    If you get many theaters to got together and agree to demand lower prices, Eg $5 to watch a movie and profits between the movie company and theater are split 50/50 then it will happen. The film makers will not be able to refuse as they don’t market their videos directly; they rely on the theater and other businesses to sell their products.

    • Bladerunner says:

      You’re a little off base on the idea that the theaters have that much power. Because consumers demand these movies, had any specific chain not shown Avatar, then that chain would have been losing money. A theater that doesn’t have the newest releases quickly becomes one that only has second-run films, and while that is a viable route to take, as a general rule those theaters are much less profitable. The only way that the theaters have power is when they band together.

      On the subject of what the theater is doing, I agree that it’s likely 100% legal (a poster earlier found a law that it might violate, in that specific state, but I agree that as a general concept it’s perfectly legal). However, there is a long history of deciding what businesses which are open to the public are or are not allowed to do. Examples include anti-discrimination policies, ADA accommodations, smoking laws, pricing laws, salesman laws (some states have cooldown periods after major purchases) etc. So should they be allowed to do this?

      Now, if they totally disallowed food, that’s their right. You could step outside to your car and eat if you really had to. Some museums and such have a policy like that, in order to keep the join cleaner, and that’s fair enough. These theaters, however, do not have that policy. They allow food, they even sell it. But they’re trying to force you to buy their food. Unlike a restaurant, which has free admission, and which has a sole purpose of being an eating establishment, theaters are selling access to a show, and concessions are clearly ancillary. I am of the opinion, that when concessions are clearly disconnected from the original transaction (access to a show), but present, venues should not be able to prevent people from bringing in outside food or drink subject to some limitation (like if someone brought in something excessively loud). That way if I’m dehydrated, I can have thought ahead and brought myself a water. If I’m hypoglycemic, I have my snacks without selling my children. If I’m vegan or celiac I can actually eat something. Those are things that wouldn’t necessarily have a “doctors note”, but are nonetheless real issues. Should consumers be allowed to bring in their own food, then the market is no longer forced, and the concessions should be able to charge whatever they want, because the consumer is at that point paying for the convenience. If such a policy is allowed, however, then I believe that rampant price gouging should be reigned in; that is, however, not my preferred scenario.

  63. mackjaz says:

    There *is* just the slightest whiff of a monopoly here. The studios strictly regulate which theaters show which movies, for how long, and at what profit margin to the studios. So, in that sense, the consumer’s ability to shop around is very limited. Many smaller communities will have only one movie theater and that can equate to price fixing. But that’s gonna be a tough case for a dude in Detroit to prove in court.

  64. Geekybiker says:

    In my area there are a couple theatres that server dinner and alcohol with movies. Its a perfect solution IMHO. The theatre gets to sell you “snacks” and you get food actually worth paying for. Plus it tends to cut down on the scream kids etc.

  65. thaJack says:

    I’d freaking LOVE to pay $5 for a ticket. A 5pm ticket (here in Roanoke, Virginia) is $10.50.

  66. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    When he loses this case then maybe he should do the same for sports concessions.

  67. Psycho Conductor says:

    I’ve snuck in stuff all the time. Usually I make little baggies of pretzels/chips and shove them in my pockets. If I have enough room, I can also put in a bottle of water.

  68. MacUser1986 says:

    The sad thing is he will probably win…

    But in all seriousness it’s pretty rotten to charge outrageous prices for product you get can get much cheaper around the corner.

  69. SteveinOhio says:

    He’s right that the pricing structure is ridiculous, but it’s not like we’re talking about Rx medications here…entertainment is as ubiquitous a product as there is in America. Substitute goods ftw.