$1 Popcorn and Drinks On Stimulus Night At Movie Theater Chain

Carmike Cinemas, which operates 2,276 screens in 36 states has declared Tuesdays “stimulus night” and will be offering $1 popcorn and drinks.

Starting March 10, the chain will sell 16-ounce sodas and 46-ounce popcorns for $1 each. Madness!

Discounts on concession are rare for theaters because that’s where they make most of their money — but Carmike is hoping that $1 goodies will inspire loyalty and that customers will notice the improvements they’ve made to the theaters.

What do you think? Are “Stimulus Tuesdays” going to lure you to the movies on a weekday?

Theater Chain Begins Recession Special: $1 Popcorn and Sodas [NYTimes] (Thanks, Phil!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Stoli says:

    It would help, but just the ticket for a movie feels a little high these days. I don’t usually eat concession food (again, for price reasons), but it’s not a bad idea.

  2. chuckv says:

    46 ounces of popcorn for a dollar? God bless America!

  3. agent888 says:

    So the profit on popcorn is lets guess….100%, as compared to the normal 500%

    • Lincolnsbeard33 says:

      @agent888: pretty much but hell I will take it.

    • huadpe says:

      @agent888: Breakdown of popcorn costs:

      *Pimply kid to serve it to you: 50%,
      *Interest on the loan for the seizure inducing neon vending booth you installed in late 2006: 30%
      *Ushers to sweep up all the popcorn people leave on the floor after guzzling the gigondo-tub without so much as looking down: 19%
      *Ingredients: 1%

  4. krispykrink says:

    A dollar? Well, at least they’re still making 95 cents on each of those items. But hey, a dollar is better than $5. Oh well, too little too late. I stopped going to the theater in 1999.

  5. LegoMan322 says:

    I do not think that specific brand is in my state…but even if it was…the movies I would see are still NOT worth that dollar!

  6. N.RobertMoses says:

    Let’s see there are no movies I want to spend $12 to see, so $1 popcorn and beverages isn’t going to get me into the cinema.

  7. Andi Lee says:

    Tempting… Too bad I have more fun things to do on a Tuesday night. Too bad I only go to the movies like twice a year or so /and/ then only to the matinee. And the last time I went to the movie theatre, I used a coupon to get a free meal at a fast food place and I brought that food with me in my jumbo bag (milkshake and all). Teeheehee.

  8. Dragonis says:

    Before I go to the movies, I go to the bulk barn, buy a bag of cheap popcorn and hide it in my coat sleeve. My friend brings candy in her purse, claiming she is diabetic.

  9. freepistol says:

    i think they would make more money if they would just charge a dollar less for consessions on friday night…. i might consider actually buying consessions instead of smuggling in my own candy and drinks.

  10. ForrestWhitakersLazyEye says:

    mmmmm, 3 day old popcorn.

  11. philmin says:

    One time I stuffed a McDonalds double cheeseburger into my pocket so I could eat it in the theater. Once sitting and after the movie began, I started eating it. It smelled like cheese and people looked at me and overall I felt pretty bad about myself.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @philmin: This wouldn’t have bothered me, I smell like cheese every day.

    • Mike8813 says:

      @philmin: That story gave me a good laugh. Thanks!

    • Raiders757 says:


      They just looked at you, because they were wishing they had thought of the same idea themselves.

      Either that, or were making too much noise with the cheese paper.

    • Decayd says:


      Me and a friend didn’t have time to eat and see a movie at the same time, but we managed to sneak our Chinese food and large drinks in. A good portion of the theater we where in smelled like general tso chicken.

      Also seen a teacher of the high school I went to walk into the theater with a bucket of chicken. I have no idea how she managed that.

  12. larrymac808 says:

    Three pounds* of popcorn?

    *give or take the HDPD [Haagen Dazs Pint Differential]

    Or is popcorn sold by volume?

  13. Corydon says:

    I remember back in the day, they had $2.50 Tuesdays up in Canada (this was 15-20 years ago mind, so inflation would probably push the price point up a bit). If they brought back a similar promotion, I might be tempted. As long as tickets are as expensive as they are, I’ll keep avoiding the theaters.

    Cheaper popcorn ain’t gonna do it.

    • Eliamias says:

      @Corydon: In my Canadian neck of the woods, they still have cheap movies on Tuesday. I think it’s up to $5.25 or so, but definitely an improvement over the regular price ($11? $12? Haven’t paid full price for a movie in forever so I couldn’t tell you)

  14. Ben_Q2 says:

    The machines that makes the popcorn cost a lot of money for that they do. I have one in my home. Why I do not eat much popcorn it does make the house smell nice and I just give it to the chickens.

    Yes the popcorn, oil, and oil topping is cheap but try the out lay of $3,000 for a small one and $12,000 for the really big ones. Ok yes you will make your money back fast.

    One thing most people did not know that Star Wars 1(4) had for the 1st 3 weeks 100% went back to L. Films. Theaters start off paying anywhere from 90 to 80% of the ticket to the company for the 1st 2 weeks, then it works its way down from there. Never (from what I have seen) less then 60%.

    • HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

      @Ben_Q2: I’m going to have to disagree with you there.

      1: My local Costco has a small movie-theater-style popcorn machine on a cart for $300.

      2: Regardless of the cost of the machine, it’s a fixed cost; considering the amount of popcorn a movie theater sells in a day, any fixed cost would be quickly made up.

      3: This still wouldn’t explain the markup on drinks, candy, hot dogs, etc.

      The real reason for the high concession prices is what you brought up at the end of your post: theaters make no money whatsoever on ticket sales. Thus, concessions has to cover their entire overhead.

  15. Blueskylaw says:

    Can I order 5 bags of popcorn to go?

    I would like to eat it while watching the History channel at home.

  16. coan_net says:

    Tuesday night is always the slowest for the movie places – heck, my local movie place has for as long as I can remember had “Bargin Tuesdays” – where it includes a free 46 oz popcorn (plus I believe regular $.25 refill if needed)

    Of course the “catch” is that almost always if you have popcorn, you need to buy a drink

    • Raiders757 says:


      I wonder if that’s because tuesdays are DVD release days, and a lot of people are watching bought or rented DVDs that night. Seeing how tuesday night TV stinks the big one, it’s the best night to pop one in the the ol’ player.

  17. David Rodriguez says:

    We have the greatest theater chain here in the Southwest: Harkin’s Theaters. For $4.25 you can buy a refillable cup that allows you to purchase $1 refills for the rest of the calendar year. I’m not sure how large the cup is, but it is much bigger than 16 oz. You can also purchase a T-shirt for $20 that entitles the wearer to free popcorn for the rest of the year. And the thing I love best: matinees show until 6pm every day, even on weekends when other theaters stop matinee prices at around 2pm.

  18. Wayfaerer says:

    The Carmike in Ft. Wayne, Indiana has had a deal on Tuesdays for awhile now. You can bring your own popcorn tub of any size and have it filled for 50 cents. Of course, I’m pretty sure they are just using the popcorn that didn’t sell over the weekend.

  19. Southern says:

    That’s not a bad deal, but it would depend on how much the ticket prices are. If you’re bringing a date (or a family) and the price is the regular $8 per ticket, then the place we go to beats ’em hands down —


    $2.25 – Matinee (all shows before 6pm)
    $4.25 – All shows after 6pm

    Large Popcorn is like $4.00, unlimited refills. Soda is $3.00, also unlimited refills. When we go I get 2 of each, one for my wife and I to split and one for my kids to split, and it works out to around $5.75 per person, including tickets, popcorn and soda. (We typically don’t even get the popcorn and soda refilled, they’re pretty large and we usually eat before we go)..

  20. trixrabbit says:

    this is awesome! the carmike here (lexington, ky) shows movies (albeit they are not “first rate”) for only $1. yes, $1. all the time!

  21. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    A promo like this will get people to come, although not right away. Take a look at the restaurants/bars/pizza delivery/etc. in your area, and see what daily specials they have – at some point, people will begin to identify that night as special at that particular business, and the people will come.

    Where I went to college, Wednesday was cheap pizza night (pizzas – delivered! – for 4 bucks) and Tuesday was cheap movie night (first-run movies for a buck at the theater, or rentals for 50 cents). Both of these business sold a LOT of product on these days. People just identified those days as days to focus on those businesses.

  22. deleteboy says:

    Two words: so there!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I like the idea.

    Honestly, I do have a problem with those that sneak in food. The theaters do have to make a profit.

    That being said, taking my two daughters to see Coraline, with the 3-D upcharge and a load of snacks, ran me $60.

    Between the costs, the rudeness of other customers, and the apathy of the staff at most theaters, I really don’t consider the cinema a preferable form of entertainment anymore.

  24. parnote says:

    I might be tempted, but they don’t operate any screens in my area. It would be nice, however, if it prompted other theater chains to follow suit (are you listening, AMC?)

  25. B says:

    Last time I went to a “stimulus night” at a movie theater, Paul Rubens was there.

  26. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    Consider me stimulated!

  27. Alex Duzik says:

    There’s a local Carmike cinema thats been doing this for over a year, also on Tuesdays. Although it was, until recently, only $0.50, and you could bring your own bucket. Yes, bucket. Up to three gallons. Seriously.

  28. AstraBabble says:

    Not I. Movies are too expensive. I’m not going to lay out half my hourly wage for a movie. That’s just bad economics and $1 popcorn doesn’t make up for it.

  29. Jenkinsbball says:

    The Cinemark around the way from me has $4 matinee prices through 6pm. Blow that out your asses, boi!

    The wife and I will usually go right after work or early on Sat/Sun, when we get a chance.

    The concession prices are fairly cheap. They’re directly fight against the AMC Grapevine 30 and the new Harkins in Southlake. Prices are great, as long as the movie is framed correctly and there’s no scratches / sound issues.

  30. Corporate-Shill says:

    Commercial Theater versus Home Theater?

    Screaming Kids, Tall People in Front, Advertisements versus cuddling with the Wife in the privacy of my home watching a movie with no advertisements or obstructions?

    Damn, Home Theater wins.

  31. jake.valentine says:

    I haven’t been to the movies in over 2 years, but this may be enough to bring me back. However, what am I going to see? It is very rare that I feel the desire to see a movie while it is in theaters. Hollywood mass produces pop culture junk with a heavy left wing slant. This may appeal to some people, but I’d rather find something else to do with my time. I started watching Asian movies a couple years ago and they really make good stuff. Korea makes great dramas, Hong Kong makes good mafia/cop flicks and China makes good action with a fantasy bent.

    1. Movie theaters need more variety in what they show. Who cares if you have umpteen screens when the same 3 movies are playing on all of them? CIn today’s world, chances are 2 of the 3 are based on a comic book.
    2. They need to permanently reduce their concession prices to something closer to what you would pay in the store or if we were to go to the theater we will just bring our own food/drinks. Who pays for that overpriced junk?!?
    3. Keep the kids quiet. Nobody ever kicks out the loud kids screaming to each other on opposite ends of the theater. This includes the parking lots!! Who wants to walk their family through a gaggle of teens in the parking lot? Theaters need to decide who their customers area. If they allow the kids to run amock then they have decided to cater to their business as far as I am concerned.
    4. Keep the place clean. Years ago when I did go to the theater regularly, they were always nasty dirty.

  32. Ben_Q2 says:

    Not the same kind of Popcorn machine. Heats up and starts popping in 2 mins or less (done by 3 from a cold start). They make them like this so they save on power. Over time depending on the sales. Yes it does pay for itself.

  33. Saboth says:

    Hmm yeah, I’d say it would lure me in. But not as much as “Matinee Prices” on the weekends where movies are 5.00 during a few hours of daytime.

  34. dtmoore says:

    hmm they already have the 25 cent bring your own bucket popcorn night on tuesdays… so i feel like this is giving me the shaft…

  35. theblackdog says:

    To pull a classic consumerist style comment, lately I have only gone to the theater that is part of a very small chain in Maryland because they’re cheaper and the money benefits a local business rather than a conglomerate.

    • B says:

      @theblackdog: As much as I’d like to support a local chain, the locally run theater near me is a pigsty. The floors are dirty, the concession stand has had multiple health code violations, the seats are uncomfortable and the sound/projection systems are out of date. Unfortunately, with no competition, they have no reason to improve.

  36. theblackdog says:

    @B: I hope you sat out of firing range ;-)

  37. lalaland13 says:

    I think Carmike already does a discount Tuesday thingie, but this is even better. Still not sure if I’ll be able to make it to the theater on Tuesday, but who knows?

    Am I the only one who thought “stimulus day” sounds like they’re showing adult movies? Although Carmike is the Velveeta Cheese Christian Rabbit chain, so they wouldn’t do that anyway.

  38. Namilia says:

    This is perfect! $6 Military Ticket (each) + $1 popcorn/drink = Greatness!

    Now if only there was a movie I wanted to see…

  39. JeannieGrrl says:

    If Canadian theaters would have these kinds of sales then I would actually go see a flic.

  40. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    if that applies to one of my local carmike theatres, i’m all over it.

    yes, that’s a $1.50 ticket price. sure it’s second run, but that’s like saving $2 a week for going about my life while waiting for the movie to be there.

  41. CSUSam says:

    There is a Carmike in town, and we usually do go to the other one, being a Cinemark. But, with this deal, I will definitely go and see movies at Carmike more often.

  42. Amber Sabah Khan says:

    The local movie theater here has free movies on wed nights.

  43. Cyfun says:

    This is insulting. Call me when Carmine charges less than $8.50 for a movie that begins with 15 minutes of commercials for Axe Body Spray and Coca Cola, and then has people texting via their glowing backlit cellphones throughout the showing.

  44. quail says:

    In the 90’s Carmike was a horrible theatre chain. Dirty cinemas, concession stands missing staple candies like M & M’s, burned out light bulbs in the lobby. Hope that they improved. Otherwise the promise of cheap popcorn wouldn’t persuade me.

    Wish them luck though.

  45. RageTowers says:

    After working for a Carmike theater, charging a dollar for popcorn is still a rip off.

    that popcorn is popped a week (if you’re lucky) before you get it. It’s never fresh. It sits in a trash bag til it’s needed.

    And god forbid a pest problem…

  46. Anonymous says:

    Regal has been doing this for YEARS. (free popcorn, which is no $1 popcorn) No free drinks, however, it is still a deal. Carmike is an awful chain, and to the person above, Regal pops their popcorn fresh. DAILY.

  47. conformco says:

    As a Cablevision subscriber I get free tickets at any Clearview Cinemas on Tuesday. Been trying to take advantage of it since my layoff.

  48. P_Smith says:

    While it’s good to hear one company is cutting back to reasonable prices (i.e. they can make a profit at that price and the public is willing to pay) it doesn’t make up for the price gouging of snacks in the past, nor does it reduce the continuing price gouging of movie tickets.

    I go to the theaters maybe once or twice a year because of their prices and bring my own snacks regardless of their ridiculous rules. I have grown more than willing to wait six months to see any hot titles (e.g. I haven’t seen Iron Man) and will wait patiently to see them on a movie channel.

    When I can take a date to a movie with snacks for less than $25, and maybe under $20, then I’ll consider going. Until then, I’ll stick with watching films at home, especially when I know I can hit rewind if somebody talks, and I won’t be interrupted by a moron using a cell phone as I watch the flick.

  49. Craig Wilson says:

    I’ve given up going to movies,sporting events etc. We have made these actors and athletes beyond rich,to our own detriment. It used to be that the lowest wage earners in our society could entertain themselves with cheap seats at a hockey game, or a movie. Good luck with that now!!Do you think Tom Cruise cares that a single parent with a couple kids can no longer afford to go see his newest movie… all because Cruise can’t work for less than 10 million per movie? Nor can any of his co-stars, to the point where the actors are now the single largest cost in making a movie.John Wayne,Clint Eastwood,Cary Grant,Audrey Hepburn.. none of these people made enough in 1 movie to retire wealthy for life..they had a career and worked.They were very well paid in their day,and lived very well,but they did not make more than the studio owners and producers as todays “so called stars” do. What about pro athletes who make more per season than the owners of the teams? Something in our value sytem has slipped out of kilter.Most pro sports teams now run at a loss and are owned by wealthy fans who can afford to lose the money. Does this make any sense whatsoever? First year signing bonuses for pro athletes make them rich enough to retire without ever playing a game. And don’t bother trying to get an autograph while you shell out $8 for a crummy bag of peanuts you would get free in any bar. Sorry for the rant