Amy Beddows 5:26 p.m., June 18
Michigan Man Files Suit Against AMC Theatres Over Costly Concession Prices
A security technician from Livonia, Michigan is taking AMC Theatres to court over the high price of popcorn.
Joshua Thompson, fed up with being gouged at the concession stand, retained the services of an attorney and decided to send a message to the exhibition giant via a frivolous lawsuit.
While you're at it, why not sue because the ice in your soft drink isn't cold enough?
According to the Detroit Free Press, "the suit accused AMC theaters of violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by charging grossly excessive prices for snacks." Joshua is not joshing: he "seeks refunds for customers who were overcharged" in addition to "a civil penalty against the theater chain."
This is a movie theatre, not a strip club with a two-drink minimum. Nowhere does it say guests must purchase snacks. If the cost of concessions puts that big a dent in your pocketbook, Joshua, don't buy them.
There's gold in them thar kernels!
There is no 50/50 division of box office coffers between distributor and exhibitor. Contrary to popular belief, theatre chains do not make the lion's share of their income off ticket sales. Most of what a movie theatre takes in at the box office is kicked back directly to the studio. Studios lease their titles to theatres that are lucky to keep 20% - 25% of the box office receipts.
In the case of certain blockbusters, especially those geared for kids who insist mommy and daddy fork over a wad of cash for candy, theatres get to pocket 0% of the box office take. This is not a new practice. When Empire Strikes Back opened at Chicago's Esquire theatre, the manager told me that they didn't see dime-one from the box office until several weeks after the film had opened. After that, the percentage is gauged on a sliding scale that can go as high as 50%.
SmartMoney reports, of each dollar spent on concessions, roughly 85 cents is profit. In other words, without pricey junk food to accompany the on-screen junk, movie theatre exhibition would cease to exist as we know it. You don't want that to happen, do you, Joshua?
Please don't be one of those cheapskates that pops corn in advance and smuggles it in, hidden inside a purse or backpack. Cinema is nutritious enough. You can survive sitting in the dark for two hours without eating.