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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: Is suing multiplexes the way to bring down popcorn prices?


We’ve all complained about the outrageous cost of movie-theater snacks. Someone is finally trying to do something about it. From the Detroit Free Press (via AlterNet):

Joshua Thompson loves the movies.

But he hates the prices theaters charge for concessions like pop and candy.

This week, the 20-something security technician from Livonia decided to do something about it: He filed a class action in Wayne County Circuit Court against his local AMC theater in hopes of forcing theaters statewide to dial down snack prices.

Thompson didn’t want to be interviewed because he doesn’t want any notoriety, Morgan said. But Thompson said in his lawsuit that he used to take his own pop and candy to the AMC in Livonia until the theater posted a sign banning the practice.

On Dec. 26, he paid $8 for a Coke and a package of Goobers chocolate-covered peanuts at the Livonia theater — nearly three times the $2.73 he paid for the same items at a nearby fast-food restaurant and drug store, the suit said.

The suit accused AMC theaters of violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by charging grossly excessive prices for snacks.

The article goes on to mention that, basically, the lawsuit hasn’t got a chance in hell of succeeding.

So, we all know that the reason the prices at the multiplex concession stand are so high is because that’s where the cinemas make their money. Most of the ticket price goes back to the studios, as much as 90 percent during the first few weeks of a new release, which is when most movies get most of their business. And we all know that no one is forcing anyone to buy popcorn and candy and soda at the concession stand… indeed, no one is forcing anyone to go to the movies at all. Given all that:

Is suing multiplexes the way to bring down popcorn prices?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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