An indispensable ingredient in the menu of a moviegoer, popcorn means more than a snack: it gives extra flavor to the movies we watch. And if we consume it correctly, it can be healthy.
In recent years, the appetite for popcorn (corn kernels are expanded under the action of heat) has grown enormously, with some nutritionists recommending them as a healthy alternative to chips or chocolate.
How Much Does Popcorn Cost at the Movie Theater?
The cost of popcorn will be affected by several factors such as the amount of popcorn you buy, the theater chain, and the city you live in. Some movie theaters may charge only around $5, while at others you may have to pay $8 or even more for popcorn. You should plan on spending, on average, anywhere between $8 and $14 for a large tub of popcorn and around $6 for a small portion.
In the table below you will find the average prices for popcorn at some of your local movie theater chains.
|Movie Theater Chain||Small||Medium||Large|
|AMC||$7 to $8||$8 to $9||$9 to $10|
|Cineplex||$6 to $7||$7 to $8||$8|
According to an ABC News report, the average cost of a tub of popcorn at a movie theater is higher per ounce than a filet mignon. Also, they say that the average cost of a small bucket of popcorn is around $6.
Why is popcorn so expensive?
Maybe you think the movie theater keeps most of the money from the tickets. In reality, most of the money ends up in the accounts of the distributor, i.e. the company that buys the film from the production studio.
The percentage of ticket sales that goes to the distributor’s account varies from movie to movie, but there is a traditional recipe based on the bargaining power of the two parties: in the first and sometimes even the second week of the film’s run, the dealer keeps more than half the money. The bigger the movie, the bigger the percentage the distributor will get.
Therefore, cinemas have every interest in asking a lot of money for food and drinks, as it is the easiest and most profitable business for them. It’s easier to make money from popcorn than from the actual projection of the films.
Exaggerating things a little bit, we could say that, for a movie theater chain, the cinema hall is just bait to get the customer to pay triple for popcorn and a coke.
Why is the smell of popcorn so good and irresistible?
There are a few reasons why we can’t resist the alluring smell of popcorn. First of all, cinemas have their own secret recipes, which contribute to the creation of the incredible smell. For example, some add a mixture of coconut and canola. Second… well, there are always food additives.
Popcorn began to be associated with watching movies in the US during World War II when a sugar shortage caused movie theaters to stop selling candy.
Usually, at most movie theater chains, popcorn is served in three different sizes: large, which is around 170 ounces, medium, which is around 85 ounces and small, which is around 44 ounces.
Important things to consider
Popcorn is not always sold fresh. If the popcorn is not sold at night, the employees will pack the leftovers and store them in plastic bags, heating them and selling them again in the morning.
Popcorn is very healthy because it has more antioxidants than vegetables and fruits. The concentration of these substances is much higher, because popcorn contains only 4% water, while fruit contains 90% water. Thus, a portion of the beloved popcorn brings us 300 mg of antioxidants, twice as much as a portion of raw vegetables. The research was done by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. In addition to antioxidants, popcorn has a lot of fiber and very few calories, so it doesn’t make you fat.
A portion of popcorn should not exceed 25-30 grams; otherwise, it becomes a high-calorie snack. Last but not least, the assortments with various toppings should be enjoyed occasionally, not being recommended for daily consumption. The healthy version of popcorn is the one made by yourself at home from corn kernels, without adding oil or butter, and which you can be seasoned according to your preference with cinnamon or hot or sweet paprika.
At the cinema, apply the rule: the simpler, the healthier! Therefore, choose plain popcorn, without additives, because they have few added ingredients. Also, take into account the fact that a large portion of popcorn that you buy at the cinema contains around 1,400 calories and over 5 grams of salt (double the daily sodium requirement recommended by the World Health Organization).
Tips for saving money
Take into consideration signing up for a frequent movie-goer card, if you are a movie theater fan. Often, these cards reward you with popcorn for free, along with other discounts and bonuses.
Most of the theaters offer free popcorn refills, but only if you buy the largest size. At some, the refill is unlimited, while at others it is limited to one refill.
Also, the combos are often readily available and can reduce the prices if you were to mix food items and drinks.
Visit the movie theater’s official website or social media page, before going to the theater. You may be able to find different promotions. Some of these offer a deal only if you sign up for their e-mail newsletter.