Admissions up, concessions down during recession

posted by HowardBHaas on April 2, 2009 at 7:50 am

People may be going to the movies more but they’re buying fewer food items and drinks when there.

In response, theater chains are rolling out “value menus” to combat reluctance at the concession counter. None is doing it as drastically as Carmike Cinemas, which in March introduced Stimulus Tuesdays to its 250 locations, with refreshments at the rock bottom price of $1 each.

Andy DiOrio, AMC’s manager of corporate communications, agrees that value is the key concept this year. Theatergoers are “more value-conscious than ever,” DiOrio says. AMC is offering popcorn, sodas, Icees, bottled water and candy for $3 each or three items for $7.50, with the combo prices available at all times. The circuit also offers discounts on rotating items and loyalty-program discounts.

Read the full story at Variety.

Comments (7)

moviebuff82 on April 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm

When I go to the movies, I just pay for the ticket and bring in a soda can just to enjoy the show and skip the long concession lines. What AMC is doing is very much similar to McDonald’s in the way people order food by number rather than by name.

JodarMovieFan on April 2, 2009 at 6:50 pm

After paying anywhere from $10-$14 for a movie, who is going to pay another $10 for popcorn and soda? I’d rather eat/drink before the show or sneak it in. Unless its one of the independents, I’m not spending one cent more on over priced concession fare.

John Fink
John Fink on April 2, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Chains do shoot themselves in the foot, and some have terrible popcorn and concessions (I had the worst pizza ever at Regal Union Square not too long ago for example). Other, non-luxury theaters are leading the way (sadly National Amusements will be broken up and sold soon, which is a shame since they have the best snack bar of any major chain).

While I do agree the prices are high and much less at independent houses (for example I pay around $10.50 for a medium popcorn & soda at Clearview Cinemas, by comparison this combo cost me about $7 the independent Union Theatre). I don’t mind paying if the popcorn is good – personally after a rough day at work, popcorn, soda and a good movie is a great form of therapy. Some chains have good popcorn (National Amusements, Clearview, Reading/City Cinemas/Angelika Film Center, Starplex, and some AMC sites if you catch them on a busy night), others…not so much.

ThomasRossi007 on April 4, 2009 at 6:35 am

Was on line at the Whitestone, Bronx yesterday, and the guy in front of me spent $47.00 on concession items!!!! Not kidding. Redstone will be smart if they do not sell this big money making theater…

What is the biggest amount anybody else has ever seen spent on concession items???

CapnRob on April 4, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Theaters claim to make their profit from concession sales but $5 for a popcorn is nuts. The last concessions I enjoyed were from the Egyptian in Portland, OR. In-house brewed beer and pizza (and it was cheap)!

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on April 7, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Movie fans have always sneaked their own preference of snacks and drinks into cinemas since the year “dot.”

However, I am disgusted that many have the nerve to leave their unwanted trash on the floor for the (minimum pay) usher to clean up. This also includes sunflower seeds, apple cores, beer/wine bottles and, oh yes, wait for it… stinking diapers!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 28, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Carmike is leading the way with reduced concessions? Must explain why I see so many Carmike Cinemas closing on CT.Someone told me a long,long time ago that that is how theatres stay open. Hey,folks were gripping when we sold a large coke for 65 cents in the 70’s!

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