There's been a bit of a fuss in the press over the last couple of days about cinema concessions and food. Now some would call it a fuss about nothing (national news? Really?) but it does seem worthy of some attention in these hallowed surroundings. The story (read all about it here) is that a cinema patron was turned away after attempting to bring his own food into the cinema.
His story is that food in the cinema is massively overpriced, and that he therefore decided to avoid it. Some reports assert that the box for the popcorn costs more than the popcorn that fills it, making a £4 charge for the same rather hard to swallow. It's also the case that bags of sweets, the (oversized) drinks and nibbles on offer are, on average, twice the price of the same products outside the cinema.
The reply from cinema managers is that they don't make a profit - or at least not enough of a profit - from tickets, and depend on the concessions to stay in business. And it's also part of the experience to get the fresh popcorn and enormous, bladder-challenging drinks, so the story goes.
Now, full disclosure: I've smuggled food into the cinema in the past for just this reason. And also because I've been trying to be healthy and have a bit of fruit or something instead of something oily. Which, incidentally, brings me to the real question that cinemas should be addressing: why on Earth is most of the food sold in cinemas so noisy? Plastic bags, crunchy popcorn and nachos? Smelly hotdogs? We should be eating grapes or something - if we really can't go for two hours without eating.
It also strikes me that the overpriced food might be OK if you were going to the cinema once in a blue moon as a major treat, but it's a real burden for regular cinemagoers - meaning that this policy of horrendous mark-ups is a bigger burden on the cinema's most loyal customers - and, I suspect, Empire readers. I started bringing food in occasionally because I was simply going too often to feel good about forking out for cinema food on top of the ticket price - and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that.
So what do y'all think? Are the cinemas justified? Should we just suck it up? Or will you be smuggling food in / abstaining from eating for the length of the film?
roary rover Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 17:08
I'll put my hands up to smuggling food into the cinema on almost every occasion.
It's perhaps an indicator of how crushingly unexciting my life is that I always have a warm feeling of satisfaction when I settle down with a can of coke and a bar of chocolate safe in the knowledge that it's cost me £3 less than it would have if i'd bought it in the foyer.
still, as a postgrad student, that's £3 I could put to good use in either the pub or the local Aldi (that's half a weeks food bill in there).
Last time i did the popcorn/coke thing, i also somehow managed to spend more on it than on actually seeing the movie, which is a bit ridiculous.
To be honest, if i have some spare cash i do occasionally enjoy getting the full experience with the coke and popcorn, but it is too expensive to do it everytime I visit the cinema.
fraser1978 Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 17:17
Cinema snacks is and always will be an absolute rip off. I'm sure the next time I go to the flicks I'll be moaning at the over-priced stuff, but I'm sure - Like always- I'll still buy it! Why do we do that?
BOYCOTT CINEMA SNACKS IMMEDIATELY!!!!
Rogue Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 17:24
Noone will prevent me from smuggling (though sometimes I flaunt) my Walkers sensations Thai sweet chili and bottle of volic.
Only food I'll buy in the cinema is the Ben and Jerry's ice cream simply because noone around does such awesome ice cream.
But in all honesty £6.40 for a ticket plus upwards of £5 at least for popcorn and a drink?! It's an expensive visit for a regular cinema goer! Ill continue my smuggling and fight my corner if I'm caught!
Helen OHara Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 17:28
Roll, you may mean the Electric in Notting Hill, which does just that. I'm a big fan, and would totally go there if I a) lived a bit more Westwards and b) could afford it.
jasonbourne.cs Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 17:29
yeah gotta put my hands up and say guilty for that one too .
the general movie going public isn't done any favours by the industry though .
cinema tickets are fairly expensive already and then heaping extortionate food prices on top of that .
if they are trying to encourage people to go to the cinema more their going about it the wrong way
Hughezy Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 17:32
any one who eats during a film is a wanker, yeah. I mean, i'm what would be described as a Fat Bastard, but people who eat during films, listen to me, SHUT UP.
i don't wana hear two idiots have a converstation about "totally tastey malteasers" when i'm trying to watch Daniel Day-Lewis act the arse outta the place.
STARVE YOU BASTARDS!
Roll Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 17:51
Cool, thanks Helen. I may incorporate that into my cinema when I own one :)
Taz69 Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 17:55
It is WAY TOO overpriced. I hate popcorn (the smell of it next to me is like a disinfected sewer) so I have no idea of the price of it but I love eat peanut M&Ms time to time and a large pack in the shops is under £2, in the cinema its pushing past £3. That kind of increase speads all over their range of sweets and ice cream so I thinks it's justified to bring in your own food and drink.
batcountry84 Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 18:14
Our purses/wallets already take a beating when forking out £6.50 plus for a ticket for the movie, and that especially turns sour if the film turns out to be awful. It's not that much dearer to have a copy on dvd if you wait a few months. The only thing I ever buy from the cinema, snack wise, is popcorn, simply cos its nice and warm and tasty, and if you want it, thats mostly the only place you'll get it from. (unless you near a supermarket, but cinema popcorn better) Other that, I always smuggle cans/bottles of pop, bags of sweets, etc into the screen, cos I'd be skint paying the cinema prices. They are extortionate. If they haven't got enough money to pay the staff, then don't employ as many or come up with another source of income. I don't tend to buy hotdogs or ice-lollys' or things like that anyways. I have known people smuggle McDonalds into the cinema, and it stunk the place out. That is probably pushing it a bit too far. But sweets, crisps, chocolate and drink I think should be allowed if people want to bring in their own. What if you have diabetes or have special foods/drink that you need to bring from outside, which the cinema won't provide? What then? I think most people take in their own food, and if the cinemas went dead strict on their 'no food/drink unless bought from cinema' policy, then they would find that not many people would visit the cinema anymore.
bloxham49 Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 18:30
Most cinemas do let you bring in food (well at least the chain I work at does). The only food you cant bring in is warm food likely to stink the place out. So really you dont need to smuggle snack food in! But I do agree it is over priced, very very over priced but it really is what keeps cinemas going. Unfortunatly most films dont get enough people in watching them for us to to ever see the prices dropping.
plum bob Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 18:42
When me n my mates go to the cinema we generally see it as the norm to go to Woolworths before to get some grub - unless of course we're not hungery. The drinks i may, occasionally get from the cinema - depends on the lengh of the film. But cinema popcorn is fresh - whatever!!!!!!!!!! It's cold and generally very plain in flavor. Cinema's stopping you from taking in your own food is complete bull!!! If they do stop (btw the cinema that this is goin on at is Cinworld) then just go to another cinema - neva have this problem when i go to Vue!
davey_wan Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 18:47
The quality of cinema food in my experience makes a McD or KFC look like the height of gastronomy so I dont even think about buying any.
If i want to eat or drink something I will bring in "quiet" food / drink.
beebs_ Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 19:10
Its a total rip. I smuggle stuff in most of the time. £4 for popcorn?! OK, I do buy some snacks sometimes, but after paying out £7.30 to get the cinema ticket I can't be shelling out more than half that for food on a regular basis.
Kez Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 19:25
I went to the cinema 47 times last year, paying upwards of £5 a time for a ticket. I regularly take my own snacks with me, because the cinema already get a large amount of my money as it is, and I simply cannot justify paying over the top prices for things that I can buy at a sensible price in the local supermarket. For the cinemas to try to stop customers from consuming snacks bought elsewhere is pathetic. Its no wonder that people resort to downloading or buying pirated films, when they are being subjected to what is pretty much daylight robbery when making a visit to their local cinema - its simply less hassle to stay at home. Not that I am condoning piracy - I go to the cinema very regularly, and buy genuine copies of dvds - but what with the price of a cinema ticket, and the increasing prices of snacks, Im not surprised that people do resort to piracy.
Glass3005 Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 20:36
Cinema-goers are just generally getting screwed, I think.
They charge us the best part of a tenner to see the films we want. I could be charged anything between £5.50 (OK, not too bad) and £8.50 (which is just ridiculous). And that's if we're not in London (went to the cinema there once, cost £13).
Which is where we might HAVE to go to see the films we want to. I wanted to see Brick a few years ago at the cinema screens. I never got to because the only screens showing it were in London, and I just didn't have the extra money to travel there.
And then they charge us about £7 for drinks and popcorn, something like £1.50 per 100g on Pic'n'Mix. Going to the cinema is supposed to be a rich experience, not an expensive one.
AND THEN they fail to stop rude people in the screens themselves. Call it somewhat fascist if you must, but can we not have some kind of enforcement over etiquette, or a test of manners before allowing people to buy their tickets? At least make sure people have their phones switched off! Every five minutes during Spider-man 3, in the corner of my eye, I had some utter bastard's phone lit up. How I didn't smack him afterwards can only be put down to divine intervention.
I miss my local. £3.50 for a ticket. Then the local council shut it down and bitch when everyone's going to different towns for shopping.
pg1981 Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 21:25
I stopped going to the cinema for all the reasons above - fed up of paying through the nose for an experience that would inevitably be ruined by (usually more than one) prat who insists on talking/eating noisy smelly food/farting/getting up every 10 mins to go the f**king loo.... circle as appropriate
And most of the time its the cinema itself that causes the problem. Maybe I am being too anal here (I am a fierce film fan) but does anyone else get p*ssed off when the cinema forget to change the lens on the projector between the trailers and the main feature - meaning for the first 20 mins of the film you are watching a bunch of stick insects!! usually with the sound only coming out of one set of speakers
I think I'll stick to my plasma/HD/DTS surround sound equipped living room thank you very much
PS I have been to the electric in notting hill - personally I find it really annoying that they have people walking around serving drinks in the middle of the film. Stop interupting and get out of the way!!
the_only_man_who_can Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 21:26
It's either expensive tickets or expensive food, people. I would rather pay less for a cinema ticket (esp. on cheap tuesdays or orange wednesdays) than have cheaper food that no one is forcing you to buy.
Cinemas get less than half the price of a ticket to themselves. If you want comfortable seats, great sound and a clear picture they need the money to do this, as well as to pay the staff. This has to come from somewhere, and the fact that they choose to hike the price of an optional expenditure seems fine to me.
Geddes Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 21:58
Personally, I always smuggle food in to the cinema. Well, half the time it's not even smuggle so much as walk in with a McDonalds emblazoned set of boxes. Even on one occaision me and a friend had a pre planned picnic from various goods bought at greggs the bakers which took most of the film to eat. Personally, it's not so much the price of the food that annoys me but the quality. Popcorn's rubbish at most cinemas. And besides, most Cinemas in my area didn't show There Will Be Blood and a fair few skipped showing No Country For Old Men. Yet they comlain about losing money. Madness.
pg1981 Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 22:12
I would disagree with you on the comfortable seats, great sound and clear picture
My recent experiences are not enough legroom, sound always cutting in and out and the picture in the wrong aspect ratio.
The problem with cinema is that their business model doesnt work anymore. It used to be the case that to watch a film in a state of the art facility before it was available anywhere else deserved a premium that people were willing to pay.
Nowadays films are release on DVD almost immediately after the cinema release date and the cost of home cinema equipment has eroded to the point where the living room experience can be technically as good as anything you'd get in the multiplex
So I ask myself why would I go? And I don't anymore
Spider Posted on Wednesday February 20, 2008, 23:29
I sometimes smuggle food in, mostly will go without, but I certainly won't be buying anything from the cinema at the prices they charge.
I understand the cinema's need to make a lot of money on concessions, but I still don't think they go the right way about it. It's true that midweek daytime I'm never really going to be bothered about popcorn, but for an event movie on a Friday night there's nothing better than the full cinema experience. If they halved the price of popcorn and a coke I would be happy to buy, and I'm willing to bet that a good deal more people (and obviously to make it viable it would have to be double) would be as well.
I think this is going to be another victim of the multiplex cinemas. If they could improve the cinema experience in general they'd sell a lot more - pack out the big films at weekends, make some effort to stop idiots ruining films, create some sort of excitement about a film, then naturally concessions would follow as people embrace the more traditional idea of cinema-going.
One final thought - it seems that cinemas are pretty reluctant to try new refreshments out. Popcorn and coke is traditional, ice creams and hot dogs are also standards. But where are the range of options and new ideas that might get people buying again? What about a smoothie bar or a franchised coffee shop? They could probably make a decent amount of money letting Costa sell coffee at high street prices in the foyer.
sindoy Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 00:27
Like most Empire readers I love going to the cinema and go often. Frequenly I go on my own because I refuse to miss out the big screen experience if my friends don't want to see the same thing and also, with a cinema nearby, it's often a spur of the moment thing but...
the portions are too big. I love cinema popcorn, it's part of the experience (bot so much since all the chains stopped with the butter :-( )but why give me this giant tub and charge a fortune when I would be more than satisfied with half that! Living in London it can easily be £11 upwards for the ticket alone (minimum anywhere nearby £7.50) and a small popcorn and cola is usually a minumum of £6. Not so bad if you want to share but forking out for something you're not even going to eat half of is just annoying and then being told that getting a meal deal (usually a medium soft drink and popcorn) for less is even more annoying when those portions are completely insane for someone on their own.
Small portions at more reasonable prices (and less ice in the soft drinks- at least pretend there's some value!)
boredbluekoala Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 02:31
Popcorn only comes in two sizes anyway, Huge or flippin-massive.
umer_ejaz Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 06:56
I've always brought my own food. Around the cinema I go to there are many shops where I popin and just buy tons of food and go into the cinema and they've never said anything ever. I've been doing that for the last 4 years and it's been better than paying for popcorn that costs £4.10 just for a large.
At one point the prices seemed reasonable but now there awful. A little tub of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream cost me £1.80 which i thought was good but now it's £2.60, wtf?! They should consider putting the prices down by a massive drop
skeletonjack Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 07:45
Firstly, there is no doubt whatsoever that the price of food in cinemas is hugely inflated. So that means people should be able to bring their own food into cinemas, doesn't it? Well no actually it doesn't. You know the prices before you buy it, so either buy it or don't. You don't take your own booze into the pub do you? You don't go to a restaurant and eat your own food? If your're going to complain about prices then don't buy any, that's the beauty of choice. Now I don't know about you, but I can actually sit through a film without the need to stuff my greedy fat face because, you know, I'm there to WATCH THE FILM, and not have a mini picnic. If you really do need that chocolate fix then why not buy and eat BEFORE the film, surely that will surpass your hunger for 2 hours, won't it? Now lets consider the annoyance factor you cause to other people who actually want to hear what it being said on screen, a crazy idea I know. I'm sure we've all been there before: the BBFC title has been and gone when in walk a pair of braindead neanderthals holding carrier bags from the local Asda and they sit right next to you, and guess what? The carrier bags are full of food! Constant rustling and noise for the next two hours! So stop moaning about the (admittedly high) cost of food. Sit down, shut up and watch the film!
albumental Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 08:39
I was pretty amazed by the comment that the cinemas don't make enough profit from ticket sales alone so I did a very rudimentary calculation on seat based turnover for my local Odeon in Guildford.
The estimated total was somewhere between £10 and £15 million a year... for one Cinema outside of London.
Now obviously there are overheads and the studios of course take a big chunk of that but still, how many cinemas are there in the UK alone bringing in that kind of cash and they still have to charge us over twice the odds for a packet of frickin' Minstrels?
(Yeah, I like Minstrels and a coffee with my movie. Something wrong with that huh?)
steveg66 Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 09:26
20 odd quid for a family of four to see the film, then another 25!!! for food and drink! You're damn right I'll keep taking my own food and drink!
livewire Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 09:26
I'm a sneaky smuggler. I'll admit it. however that only goes so far as the sweets. (all soft chewy ones, with no wrappers, and in the quietest bag i can find as i hate noise in the cinema)
They cinema stuff is way overpriced. Any night i go to local omniplex there deffinately enough people about to justify it being open just from the ticket sales. With any of the big blockbusters the place is pretty much packed out. Other cinemas in Belfast and Dundalk (Norn Iron & Rep of Ireland respectively) are the same.
This all stems back to hollywood studios putting the boot in (again). Is it any wonder my other half prefers DVDs. Our Own Sofa, a bottle of wine (or 2), no noise from other people and snacks of what ever you fancy from the kitchen. Nice.
(personally i don't mind DVDs cause at least i can smoke in my own house when i'm watching a movie but thats a WHOLE other arguement)
welshartist Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 09:47
yeah i smuggle food and on occasion a bottle of wine into the cinema. really think the film/cinema industry need to re-think on how they run their buisness' if the ridiculous rise in ticket prices and snacks isn't covering the costs...lets start by making films a bit cheaper maybe? does it really have to cost the same as an African country? that's speaking as a someone who works in the industry. but i digress if you like a tipple and not waiting 30 minutes from adverts to film titles then try the Duke Of Yorks in Brighton. is part of an independent picture house chain i think? but they have alcohol licence.
Kittys_Gremlin Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 10:00
I always take my own food into the cinema. But it's usually quite obvious & never been a problem. The only thing I do buy is a pint now & then (my local pictures is licenced).
As for noise, people getting up & lack of leg room, I must be really lucky as the biggest problem I've ever had is someone sitting in my seat.
Then again, with membership (£27 a year) the tickets are around £4.50 so I really can't complain.
Monkeygunhead Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 10:13
Slightly off topic - but there were staff in the cinema telling the postie not to eat his own food or to leave - but where are these same members of staff when feral kids are screaming at each other, playing music from their mobiles or just generally intimidating other patrons??
DeadBelushi Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 10:51
Considering that cinemas only get around 20% of the ticket price (thanks Empire Movie Miscellany) then that means the cinemas lose out a lot of money that they need to make sure that they can buy the films we want to see, and pay the rent, and the electricity.
And seeing as SOME people go to the cinema less now because of illegal downloading (of which I have NEVER done), the cinemas and the industry are having to charge more to make up for their losses. So who is really to blame at the overpricing of cinemas and cinema food?
scottyjamison313 Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 10:53
I understand all the complaints made against overpriced cinema foods and people being barred for trying to bring in their own foods but it doesn't happen everywhere. i work in a mulitplex and we let people bring in their own foods if there wish, just not hot foods, but the thing is despite us having this rule people will continue to purchase food from the shop. i think a lot of people think it is part of the experience, they cant watch a film without popcorn or crisps or sweets. me, im just happy with a bottle of water.
but in defense of the cinemas charging expensive prices, it is correct that they make f all from ticket sales, most of the money goes to the distributors so they do need expensive-ish food to make a profit. it just so happens that the big cinemas charge far too much, these are the cinemas mainly in england. cinemas in little northern ireland are moderatley priced but the big cinemas are wrapped up in consumerism and capitalism that they feel it is right to charge a fiver for popcorn when £3 is adequate and still makes a profit.
Noelg25 Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 10:56
I go to the cinema quite a lot. Especially when the big blockbusters come out. I think the last time I bought food was when I went to see I Am Legend. I think I paid about £3 just for popcorn so I didnt bother buying any drink. However, the last 3 times I have been to the cinema (to see Cloverfield, National Treasure 2 and Jumper) I didnt buy any food. I didnt bother because A. I just wanted to go in and watch the movie and come out and B. There was no way I paying a high price for food after paying so much just for a ticket.
It's bad enough the ticket prices being high never mind the food prices. But as Helen has pointed out, why should the food be so noisy? I was in the cinema watching Jumper and right before the film started, people started eating nachos, popcorns and opening up packets and I thought to myself 'do these people actually come to the cinema to watch a movie or do they come for something else entirely?'
I think people should have the right to bring in their own food into the cinema, especially if they are regular cinemagoers. These people pay with their hard earned cash to see movies, why should they have to fork out for high priced foods when they can prepare something themselves at home and take it with them? I took food in once that I bought elsewhere and the staff at the cinema had no idea, even though you could see the bag I was carrying clearly had food in it.
I understand the cinemas have to make a profit, but sometimes if u know certain areas are not doing so well, then reduce the prices, once u do this, watch how many people start paying attention. I bet they will get more profit from concession sales if they reduce the prices than what they get now. But then, this is the UK after all.
dvddave Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 11:06
I thought that it was not illegal to take food into the cinema,provided it ws not "too smelly".I never buy food or drink in the cinema out of a matter of prinicpal.Considering i go on average twice to three times a week I think i would need to take out a loan to even consider buying anything on-top of the ever increasing ticket price.
marlo Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 11:09
I agree. The food and drink are expensive. I do sometimes take my own drink and sometimes I suck it up and pay cinema prices. Like Helen I'm a fairly frequent cinema goer and it does add up. Especially as i'm often paying for the wife and 2 kids as well. The other thing that annoys me is that even if you are willing to pay concession prices they are often hopelessly understaffed. My local multiplex probably has ten till points but never seems to have more than three people serving. So on a busy Saturday with a brand new movie out, by the time you've queued up and payed the ridiculous prices, you end up with crap seats and miss the start of the film!!!!
DanCurley Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 11:30
Fuck food - get the bottle of Voddy going.
Y2Neildotcom Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 11:34
Here here to most of the comments above (and inevitably below). How can cinemas say they only make their money through conessions? Have they seen the price of tickets today? I paid £7.20 to see Sweeney Todd the other week! It's no wonder people resort to piracy and smuggling in treats when the cinemas put up that sort of price.
Last May I had wanted to get a cinema card or voucher for being a regular patron when all the huge blockbusters came out, I wanted to see them on the big screen, but you don't get any thanks for being a regular goer. It's a real shame. I love the cinema experience but I fear it's pricing most people out of the market!
the ageless stranger Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 11:34
Quit your belly-aching, Englishfolk, you don't know how easy you have it compared to Irish cinemas.
Taking one example listed above, of a 5.50 ticket with 7 quid for drinks and popcorn, that converts to roughly 16 Euro. The average adult ticket over here is around 9.50, and then a large combo drink and popcorn is about 8.50, to 9, so you're not getting much change from a 20 on your average cinema trip.
Do I like it, no. But I pay. Because I love popcorn. (Admittedly though, I'm not aware of any policy that stops people bringing their own food into the cinema, but still, I want my popcorn hot dammit!)
DanCurley Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 12:09
It's less the cost and more the sheer grottyness of the food. It's all pure Super Size Me shite, even a small drink is like a bucket. And the only sugar free drink is usual coke, caffinated. I don't know about most people but I find a bucket of caffine to be a bad idea at 9pm.
All the sweets are family sized. Great if you're sharing them out between 5 people, a little bit offensive on the mantits if you're on your jackjones.
I'm a veggy - but even if I wasn't I'd rather eat a turd on a crumpet than one of them hotdogs.
The pisser is, there are loads of nice treat-like foods and snacks now that are far healthier than the stone aged shite the Odeon coughs up. A take my own scran in because my version of popcorn, sweets and a drink is about 300 calories- not 3,000. Start serving Snack-A-Jacks butter popcorn, ribena toothkind and low sugar wine gums and I'll happily pay the ridiculous costs...
Old_Pyrate Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 12:11
I used to be an assistant manager for Odeon. I worked at several sites and none of them had a policy of stopping people from bringing their own food or drink in, other than alcohol and hot food takeaways (which create a bit of a stink).
That said and despite the presence of an Alldays across the road from one of my sites, our retail sales were always very good. Most of the time, people just can't be bother to go anywhere else.
It's a simple fact that all cinemas, from mega chains like Odeon to the independents, make the majority of their profits from retail sales. A cinema relying soley on tickets sales would go out of business fairly quickly. Sorry, but that's just how it is.
captain_conehead Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 12:20
Regular cinema goer and for me its 50/50. Sometimes i'll buy the pick and mix and will most probably get a drink but i've never been one to induldge in a hotdog or a gigantic box of popcorn. I have on occasion brought in a bag of crisps and never felt guilty.A sobering thought for me on the actual premise of visiting cinemas was summed up by one of my clooegues at work. He stated he never goes to the cinema as rising ticket prices and a drink will at the most be costing you around £12. His argument being that the going rate for a new film out to own on DVD is around the same price plus he gets to watch it in the company of his (chatter free) front room with normal price food and if he likes the film he keeps it-if not he'll exchange it as an unwanted present! Cynical? Of course, but when i come back from being dragged to see another boring 3 hour threequel i sometimes wonder whether he's onto a winner.
kezz2701 Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 12:33
I work for Cineworld and we are constantly told not to let people in with their own food, (which believe me i hate doing as i take my own food in when i go to cinemas and i feel like a prize bitch when i have the manager breathing down my neck telling me to take some sweets off of a five year old). My advice is to make sure it isn't on display in a carrier bag or obviously shoved up your top because if we can't see it we can't confiscate it, because even if we suspect that someone has some food in their bags we have no legal right to ask to search their bags.
brumhee Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 12:57
I have an unlimited pass for my local cineworld and it is great, I get to see 2-3 films a week for £12 a month. Because of this I don't mind paying a bit extra for a coke. I am not a fan of popcorn and don't need to eat every hour of the day so avoid the food. It seems odd though that people are complaining about a large coke (which must be close to a litre) costing £3.10 in a cinema but some people are happy to pay £1.50 for not even half the same amount of coke in a pub. Because of this I wouldn't say the prices are disproportionate to similar venders.
Occasionally I do take my own food and drink I keep it in my bag and take it out when in the screen. I have never been stopped and staff have even thanked me for putting the rubbish in a bin on the way out, together with the morrisons bag it came in.
mattdavies86 Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 13:05
I worked at Vue for over a year, and I was guarenteed to hear this from customers at least 10 times a day! However, no matter how angry the customers were with the price they still paid it. Theres a simple solution - why even bother buying the food in the 1st place? Most people can quite easily sit and watch the tv for a couple of hours without having to eat so why do we have to do it at the cinema! I was ok with popcorn and drinks, but I can't see the point to all this crap like nachos and hot-dogs which everyone eats in 2 minutes! Its just american culture invading our cinemas.
Helen's argument about noisy food is so true. I watched No Country for Old Men recently at a small arthouse cinema where no-one was eating and drinking - it was probably one of the best experiences at a cinema I've ever had, not just because the film was great, but because the audeince was more interested in the film than eating.
MartinBlank76 Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 13:23
Oh boo hoo the cinemas dont make enough money. My local multiplex have a plethora of staff on hand at the concession stands pumping out horribly overpriced food and drink and thats were you have to walk all the way back to if you have a problem at one of the screens, thus missing minutes of the film you are watching. Shows that its more important to them to be fleecing us for pick n mix than have somebody on hand in case of emergency.
All they care about is making money, you used to have the choice to queue up seperately for snacks or your ticket, now they have combined the two so even if you dont want any snacks you are stuck waiting in line behind all the people who do, just to buy your ticket.
Rogue Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 13:27
Cinemas just don't have the variety that the newsagent across the street has.
mattchoman Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 13:30
I occasionally smuggle a bag of sweets (I don't have something with every film).
The main reasons I don't buy cinema snacks are:
*High prices *Portions sizes way too big (you can never buy a regular pack of sweets, its always a huge bag, same for drinks, my odeon doesn't sell regular-sizzed bottle of water, its all 750 mls plus). *Poor selection
I go too often to eat that much unhealthy food (and to afford it). Also, I know the cinemas don't take a huge amount from the high ticket price, but has anyone mentioned advertising revenue?! They must rake in a fair bit from that.
And slightly off topic, am I the only one who gets annoyed by the booking fee when you pre-book online? You're doing them a favour (saving them staff), you're guaranteeing them a sale (you can't get money back after booking) and you can buy tickets at the box office days in advance so it can't be like you're paying for the convenience of reserving a seat. Anyone else pissed off by this?
Wrath Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 13:33
Hugely overpriced. It's a free country and if I want to bring my own food in I will.
Brighton Benson Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 13:33
Cinema snacks are so overly priced because of the non existent profits on tickets.
The alternative is to massively up the price of the ticket.
I prefer it the way it is. After all, I’m not forced to buy them. I can eat before hand.
So if you don’t wanna pay the prices, just find a way not to eat for 2 hours. It’s not that hard. I go to the cinema about 4 times a month and I would say I buy snacks about half that time. I don’t think it’s a big deal, just one of the accepted parts of cinema going.
And as for this moron being thrown out? The cinema is just trying to run a business. Part of that is selling snacks. Would he go into a restaurant and take his own dessert? What a tool. Ban him for life I say.
And I should disclose that this is an argument I had many times with patrons when I worked at Odeon for 3 years. 90% of the time, when I explained the reason they were so pricey they understood and accepted it.
carmbler Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 13:42
If you want to eat food, go to a restaurant or rent a dvd and stay at home. Nothing ruins the cinema experience more completely than the rustling of food packaging and the stench of junk food. Can't we ingest some culture (be it popular or otherwise) without stuffing our faces?
dougtherugg Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 14:02
I say let people bring what they want. I go to cineworld and have never had an issue. I will occasionally buy an ice cream like magnum or something like that but usually bring my own food and have finished eating it by the time the trailers are over. I am also an unlimited card holder so cant gripe about the ticket prices. ok my argument is not very clear but I think that cinema food is too pricey and will continue to bring my own until the prices are more reasonable.
John_P Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 14:24
always take my own bottle of coke and a packet of mints, I'm already paying £5.50 for my ticket so I don't want to pay another £5 for snack food.
wordymonkey Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 14:32
To be honest I don't really have a problem with the price of the food on sale as, due to the unhealthy nature of it, I never indulge. Besides, it's only 2-3 hours anyway so it's not absolutely necessary unless you have to eat for health reasons.
The thing I do take exception to is the price of the tickets which keeps going up (£7.60 at my local) coupled with the increase in the amount of adverts we have to sit through before the trailers even start! It's not even an option to come in a few minutes after the schedule time as you will most probably be stuck at the front of the conema with the worst possible view. This is the real issue, I won't complain about the food until they start selling handy packs of cashews for a fiver!
fleming Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 14:37
I go to The Rex cinema in Berkhamsted
which is easily the best cinema in existance ever - big comfy chairs, tables, a bar, a good choice of (quiet) snacks, and a good selection of films. I went to an Odeon with a friend a couple of weeks ago, and it made me realise quite how rubbish the big chains are - cinema can be a much better experience than they make it.
Mind you, in this particular Odeon, there was a woman in front of me, by herself, drinking a bottle of champagne out of a paper bag, and she seemed to be having a great time. So what do I know?
empirequeen Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 16:36
I've been taking my own food and drink to the cinema for years. I go regularly and refuse to pay the prices they charge. Particularly if we go as a family. The cost of the tickets is expensive enough. Where would we be without Orange Wednesdays!!
lynsey33 Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 17:13
What has happened to the picture house of the past? Providing wondrous escapism that was unsurpassed. Everyone gazed up in awe, heads lost in a story, From history, the future, pure guts and glory. But now it seems audiences have lost sight of the fact, That the reason they are there is to watch people act! Why is it now that these people assume, They can treat a movie theatre like their living room? In between the shouting and screaming, is the incessant drone, Of everybody’s mobile phone. And it’s no longer just the odd popcorn crunch, But the cacophony of a full course lunch! There’s no way the dialogue can compete, Against nachos and hot dogs and bags filled with sweets. For some it’s beyond them to find their own mouth, As most of the food ends up travelling down south. With ice cream and chocolate melting all over the place, It’s not just the floor that gets covered in waste. It makes it all rather tiresome, Finding somewhere to sit free of sticky scum. Even when the food is all finished there’s no guarantee, That the rest of the screening will be trouble-free. Because blocking your view comes bloke after bloke, Dashing off to the loo as they’ve drunk too much coke! When the ‘Minstrels’ start flying, and the kids are kicking your chair, When the ushers are crying, and tearing at their hair. You know the madness must stop; it’s gone way to far, So unite movie-goers to save the cinema! Fans of all genres we must make a stand, Just as John Wayne did in Rio Grande! So regardless of whether you’re a fan of Snow White, Or prefer to have a giggle, a swoon or a fright. Join the geeks and the nerds, who think Star Wars is real, The avant gardists, the indies, and fans of surreal. Even if you are only tuned in, When your body is full of adrenaline. Watching James Bond and Superman race, To thwart the villain and bomb his base. Take all your passion, your fight and your zest, And make the BBFC censor the pest. If that doesn’t work, then we’ll kidnap them all, And force them to watch back-to-back Steven Seagal. With their brains all a-mush and eyes melted away, That’ll be the last time they talk over the matinee. Our success shall be signalled with thunderous applause, Because we are rebels with a just cause!
pettsy Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 19:51
I don't often eat or drink in the cinema to be honest, unless I treat myself to one of those massive Ben and Jerrys concoctions. I seem to have the ability to go without food for two hours!
The portion sizes are ridiculous though, for food and drink. The workers at my local fleapit don't make it any better by informing you that "an extra-large coke/popcorn is only 20p extra!" at the till.
ElliotFalconer Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 20:33
I'm 12 years of age, and I think its SUCH a rip off. As if £4.50 for the ticket isn't enough?! They're charging us pounds and pounds for water; seriously!! I bring food into cinema all the time, and have never been stopped once. But I can see the frustration; sweets are so expensive...
KingBigkerb Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 21:42
I have no problem whatsoever taking food into my local cinema (Aylesbury Odeon). I do however feel some remorse about it at any of the surrounding cinemas like say, Milton Keynes, Hemel Hempstead, High Wycombe. The reason for this is simple...
These other cinemas charge between £4.50 and £5.50 a ticket and you have a thoroughly good time (depending on the film of course), whereas Aylesbury's Palace of Grime charges £8.00 for what is normally two hours of telling kids to shut the fuck up. Maybe it's because MK, HH and HW's cinemas are slightly out of their respective town centres or maybe Aylesbury just has a higher concentration of grotty little teenage oiks who are happy to pay eight quid to sit and ring their mates but I HONESTLY don't have this problem whenever I go to ANY OTHER cinema.
Anyway, back on point... This is why I have no problem not giving Aylesbury cinema my snack money. I love going to the cinema but it's always a gamble at Aylesbury whether you're going to have a good time, so I won't go from an £8 ticket to spending nearly £15 if you get food as well. Anywhere else, I'll gorge myself on buttery corn just because I know I'll have a good time.
So Aylesbury Odeon, lower your ticket price to the same as the other local chains, make all films have an age certificate of 28 and then I'll start buying yer popcorn!
crimebusterofthesea Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 22:05
I only buy food depending on the film.I've started to just pop into tesco to get a drink and a bag of popcorn or something first.Cinema's are definetley too expensive.
There's never been a problem bringing food from outside the cinema in for me.You're allowed to so long as it's not hot food.
NickNack Posted on Thursday February 21, 2008, 22:37
Ideally, there should be no food at all in cinemas - nobody wants to watch a film with someone grazing next to them (taken from a Ricky Gervais quote btw) - most food is noisy whether it's the food itself or the packaging that comes with it.
But as Cinemas have to make money, there will always be food, and there will always be overpriced food. As the article more or less says, it's a bit ridiculous if we can't go for 2 hours without eating, just wait till after the film for a meal! You will appreciate it more, plus there's more to talk about if you're with someone! That way, everyone wins.
rams Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 00:50
Jesus,smuggling food?!Honestly,I'm starting to think that Empire's a bunch of clichéd fat film-geek bastards,can't you hold your appetite for 2 hours? I bet guys that are always giving bad reviews are the ponces who are constantly going to the bathroom because of the mile long Coke and miss most of the movie while botherig other people who are trying to stay focused on the movie.Besides,eating detracts your attention from the movie.At home,do you eat stake while watching a movie???You'll be watching the plate more than you will the screen if you don't want to make a mess. Okay,I've eaten popcorn a few times in the cinema(but haven't for a few years now),but still even for those that do it,eating popcorn at Cloverfield and eating it in There Will be Blood are two very different things.If it's a casual horror or light comedy is far less annoying than a more quiet and serious film.
Helen OHara Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 08:59
Wow, rams, aren't you a charmer? Let me set your mind at rest: Empirites generally not overweight, and we don't eat food during screenings - partly because we go to screening rooms where there isn't any, partly because we go to the cinema far too often to feel the urge to treat ourselves every time. And we don't leave the cinema to go to the loo, and even if we did at said screening rooms there isn't a queue.
jamie_speak Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 09:34
having worked at one of these cinema chains i can safely say there's no law that says you can't bring your own food as long as it isn't a big mac meal..i agree the prices are high but very little is made off box office reciepts perhaps offering a reason to the madness..also if you do buy something to eat please don't bitch and moan to the minimum wage paid staff when what you know will turn out to be an overpriced box of popcorn turns out to be an overpriced box of popcorn...we don't set the prices you tools
jrewing1000 Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 09:45
The smell of hotdogs in a cinema is one of the most disgusting smells in human history. The sight of a big plastic tray full of nachos and cheese-like-substance is equally as nauseating. Popcorn is one of the loudest snacks you can eat, as is a big slurpy ice-filled bucket of sugar-water.
But if people feel the need to fill themselves with this crap they, of course, should be allowed to. I'm not against food in the cinema because sometimes film times clash with mealtimes - and of course it's a free country! But as one poster wrote - i'd rather see a healthy selection on offer. Fruit trays? Sandwiches? Shakes?
The existing foods on offer are definately over priced, but it won't stop people buying the BIG sizes - one word to explain why: McDonalds. People go there knowing how horrific their food is for you, so why stop at the cinema?
Come on Cinemas!! Lets have a health food counter!!!!!
themanwilll Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 11:54
I work in an independent cinema and we charge recommended retail prices on everything and we've been doing fine. We charge a lot less than odeon for tickets too. If we, a tiny little cinema with 2 screens and a capacity of 300, can make a profit without ripping off the consumer then surely a multiplex can.
Kash Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 12:52
Until recently it was £2.90 for a small popcorn at my local multiplex (and by small I mean about the size of a packet of crisps!) but it's now gone up to £3.30!! I regularly smuggle in my own food - I paid for the seat so I can eat what I want - and as you say, when you go to the cinema regularly it's not feasible. Such huge mark ups are just not accpeptable. Though I am partial to cinema popcorn. You just can't get the same thing anywhere else and without the use of a microwave. And PS... Helen you're so right about the noisiness factor. And the smell of those hot dogs makes me wanna hurl!!!
Drenners Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 13:12
Adding my two cents when the conversation has all but been had already is perhaps a waste of everyone's time...yeah okay, only mine, since the majority have perhaps moved on to the important issue of Obama/Santos comparisons (Seriously guys...that took you a while...)
Not being the world's biggest spender and being in this thing for the movies not the munchies, I rarely bother the good people at the concession stand and thoroughly approve of snack smuggling...particularly if it involves challenge setting. Gonna smuggle an extra large bag of fruit pastels in to the multiplex? Go for it...but only if you stash them in the crotchal region...
I will admit that there is something special about your cinema coke and what we assume is close to fresh popcorn (I have had some poor popcorn experiences lately though...I don't think they make it like they used to...or somethin...) BUT given the mark up and the ease with which your local Odeon's defences can be breached we're all mugs to buy so much over-priced sweet goodness from them. Particularly when the price of seeing the film is so steep. Cinema goers in London get screwed every time...having formerly been one of their number I often spare them a thought when I head to see a film in Belfast. On a Tuesday. A beautiful combination since some genius (I could kiss him/her on the mouth) decreed about two years ago that all showings all day for all comers should cost £2.50. The screens are packed, the atmosphere is good and the wallet is probably more comfortable with queueing for some e numbers...
Luchbox Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 13:18
Yeah the stuff is overpriced, but i am often willing to pay it for the fresh popcorn. I go to the cinema once or twice a week, and get popcorn once every two weeks or so. If not, i just get a coke. I'm not going to say that smuggling in your own food is fundamentally wrong, but the rules are the rules. How can this guy be angry because he broke the rules and then got thrown out? If we were allowed to bring in our ow food....where would it end? Could people bring in a fish and chips? most of us wouldnt want that due to the smell.
KingBigkerb Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 13:23
Hey Rams, I'd suggest you stick to the 'casual horrors' and light comedies if you have trouble make headbrain fink wen food in mouf. I bet you're one of those people who hates subtitled movies because you don't go to the cinema to read a book?!? I do apologise to everyone else for my childishness but Rams was hardly polite, so what can you do?
I think one point that needs addressing is this misguided idea that people eat at the cinema because they can't go without food for a couple of hours. Do you really think that's the reason?
I'd say, whilst I am most definitely a 'clichéd fat film-geek bastard', generally I can go without food for more than two hours at a time nearly every day. Usually between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and dinner, HOWEVER, as far back as I can remember, popcorn has always been part of going to the cinema. It's not that I get to the counter and think 'Oh god, I'm going to be in for a couple of hours. How will I survive without nourishment?!?'. It's got absolutely zero to do with that. It's all to do with the fact that the only place i eat popcorn is the cinema, it's been that way since I was a kid so I just always associate them with each other. Whilst I could easily go through a film without food, why should I? Going to cinemas is all about enjoyment and I enjoy a big box of salt while I watch a film. If I wasn't going to the cinema, I wouldn't go out and get that anyway so no, I don't think that not being able to go a couple of hours without eating is the point.
Crisps though... who thought that was a good idea? The couple of times I've been guilty of buying them at the pictures, I was so paranoid about making noise I had to try and suck each crisp to make it mushy so I wouldn't irritate people... never again... but really, popcorn isn't that noisy and half the time, cinema popcorn is so stale it squishes rather than crunches anyway.
Sambora Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 13:27
Great blog! Yep, boycott the overpriced, sugar / fat covered cinema food - you're under no obligation to be ripped off are you? The biggest thing is noise, which is why with region 1 and 3 DVDs often being available as a film hits the cinema here, I'm happier shelling out for the DVD.
Why should I pay £10 for a ticket, then have to listen to some porker gobble through a rancid plate of nachos for an hour of the film? Ditto, why should I pay £10 for a ticket then be expected to pay four times the average cost of a coke?
Time to get real. With the DVD experience getting consistently better people should exercise their right to take in their own grub to the cinema until reasonably priced chow is available.
liviclyde Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 13:29
Couldn't be arsed reading all the comments so if this has been said already im sorry. I agree that cinema prices are far too expensive but with regards too smuggling in your own food and drink my point would be that you wouldn't do this in your local pub or club and expect to get away with it so why at the cinema?
robbieowen84 Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 13:36
movie house cinemas in northern ireland allow you to bring in your own food. think more cinema chains should follow.
theo c Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 13:41
I agree food is really over priced, but one challenge.
Would you go to a restaurant and take you own food? I'm sure you could buy your steak cheaper somewhere else and cook it yourself, but you pay for it because you're using their buildings, facilities, service etc !!
Don't see much of a different between that and the Cinema..
PS - I still smuggle but only stuff I can't buy there!
filmburner30 Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 14:39
The Curzon in Soho does cracking alternatives to crap movie food .so when i go i always give it a spin Where i live in Guildford i always eat b4 i go out because i know the food is shockingly overpriced and most of it ends up on the floor. We have even shock smuggled Booze in b4 so as to avoid the massive price hikes in the Odeon itself
marsdee23 Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 16:51
As a response to Theo C, the difference is that when you go to a restaurant you buy the food because that's what you're there for. At the cinema you pay to see the movie as their primary product not the food. If cinemas became restaurants where you could see a new release and they did good quality food then I don't think there would be an issue. The fact of the matter is cinemas are selling overpriced, substandard food and drink as secondary products and so have no right to insist you buy it. Smuggling all the way!! :-)
jrewing1000 Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 17:28
To be honest, I'd rather sit next to someone quietly scoffing god-knows-what, than someone being too loud.
At the end of the day as long as my filmwatching experience isn't effected, i couldn't care less what the cinemas charge or what people eat in them. You don't have to buy it!
bunnydee Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 17:36
I don't really buy food at the cinema here - I live in London and it's really overpriced indeed. Still, I have grown up as something of a film geek (the reason I'm in London is so that I can do my postgrad on Film & TV), so I'm very used to watching stuff with popcorn.
So, the way I get my popcorn dose is simple: I watch DVDs etc at home, with friends or alone, with popcorn that I've made myself. It's simple; you just pop the frackin' corn in a pot with a little oil (no, the microwaveable stuff tastes horrible, as bad as most cinemas').
And, yes, I don't deny myself the popcorn - never could. I go to the cinema at least once a week, though, and it would be deadly for my student budget to pay for more than a ticket here.
As for the question of cinemas 'surviving' financially on the cost of the food they sell, it's kinda true, but 'the invisible hand' will take care of all that soon enough, knocking home cinema equipment prices down enough for all of you good people to buy, and watching the flickers eating whatever you want.
And there'll always be IMAX theatres or whatever, for the 'social' film-watching experience, if one needs it so much. I'm sure people that go there will be willing to pay through their noses for a mere bag of mediocre popcorn.
(Oh, and how is it that most film-geeks I know are actually skinny? Is it the prices, then, eh?)
c4darkmane Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 17:42
im always smuggling food in, ive even got myself a small cool bag so i can get a Larger Tub of Ben and Jerry's into the cinema. i normally spend £10 on food cos i eat shed loads at cinema prices it would prob be nearer £50. And no im not a fatty, i do work out loads. i just have a massive appiete
does anyone know if anymore Easy cinema's are opening cos they sound great, cheap cinema which is mostly automated and minimal staff. so things can be cheaper. aslong as its a half decent seat then im happy
Bloatyhead Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 17:53
Us ladies are equipped quite well for food smuggling - the recent trends for oversized handbags has been a total boon :)
I too am a food smuggler but I **ALWAYS** go for "quiet" sweets as I am a courteous cinema-goer. There's nothing worse than hearing sweet wrappers all the way through the film although I would rather hear that then some pair of ignorant girls sitting talking thru the whole film and ignoring all pleas from other customers to STFU! We had one instance of an early showing where there was a group of obviously drunk people causing a scene - the problem is that in a sparsely populated screen, if you get up to report them it's going to be fairly obvious and I really don't want to be at the rough end of a p****ed- up guy who's built like a brick outhouse :(
Lower the prices and people will be more likely to buy more which would increase profits.
BenTrabent Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 17:59
I like drinking water. It costs £2.00 on average for a small bottle at the cinema. That's compared to 50p in the shops or a negligible cost for self bottled tap water. I never go to the cinema without my own bottle. Also, the standard of snack food at cinemas is just not that great - even in comparison with other 'junk food'. The multiplex in Peckham has the stalest pick n mix ever - I'm sure that they just sweep up the spilled ones off the floor and pop em back in the bins.
Danny P Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 18:39
I'm not sure how the cinemas can claim to not make any profit from tickets alone. A single non-concession ticket at my local mutiplex (which has no local competition) costs £7.50. I work with people that avoid the cinema at all costs because they have children and taking them out to a film and then buying food pushes the cost up considerably. Who wants to spend £60 on treating the kids to the cinema when you can get them into a major theme park for less?
This very same cinema operates a bargain day where it 'only' costs £4.50 to get in. Needless to say the place is rammed, surely a lowering of prices all round would result in greater sales. Of course they won't do this if people keep handing out their hard-earned cash without question.
If anyone stops me or my girlfriend and asks us not to take our own food in, we normally say we're hypoglycemic and need sugarry food with us. Does the trick nicely.
robbo_c Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 18:56
I normally 'sneak' my own snacks into the cinema with me due to the costs, today I didn't and it cost me £10 for 1 drink and 2 'pots' of sweets...flippin' ridiculous. I'm sure if they sold it cheaper they'd sell a whole lot more and make a bigger profit....
benjc Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 18:58
If cinemas can't turn a profit charging £15 a ticket (in the West End at least) and subjecting us to 20 minutes of adverts pre-film then there's something very wrong with cinema chain management or studio print costs.
However, if it really *is* down to the studios charging cinema chains exorbitant costs, why is it I would pay the same price to see, say, The Blair Witch Project as I would a Batman film?
In an ideal world, cinemas would fine people for talking in films, thus subsidising costs AND keeping the sanctity of the cinema intact.
Anyway, back to the point- as a student, I used to regularly smuggle MiccyDees and even pizzas into the cinema. Yes, I have no shame, but at cinema food prices, who should?
I'm not entirely sure the bag search they do in West End cinemas is purely for security either.
Nathan Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 19:20
In my experience with the the faceless corporation multiplex cinemas. Your lucky if the YTS employee can tell you where your seat is or even tell the time. I'm suprised they noticed someone smuggling food or to that matter cared.
Why do they hate film?
Stick with the independent cinemas (if your lucky enough to have one). Better snacks, better staff, better seats and sometimes a bar (for a cheeky one after the movie)...
euchrid Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 20:38
Cinemas chains are money-raking scum suckers. They don't care about movies, they don't care about people. They are interested only in £££££££ I have and will continue to smuggle snacks into my local Odeon because I already feel mugged by the ticket price. No way am I going to let them insult my intellegence by ripping me off for a bag of Minstrels.
sheppah Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 21:27
I wouldn't dream of buying cinema food - it's a real rip off. But why do you need to eat during a two hour film anyway? Buy a sandwich, eat it outside before you go in, or get a burger afterwards.
The Hags Posted on Friday February 22, 2008, 22:37
i remember once years ago bringing 6 mcdonalds cheeseburgers into see the fast and the furious, back when they had a two cheeseburgers for a quid promotion. that was a good day. movie was shite though.
stuxmusic Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 03:00
I barely ever buy food in the cinema, unless I know it's going to be a big budget action flick, which popcorn suits perfectly. Other than that, there's the shop across the road, which not only gives a wider selection of snacks to buy, also doesn't leave your wallet empty. If only cinemas would realize that if they put down their snack prices, more people would buy them, thus garnishing them with a greater profit. It really is idiotic to say that thats how they make their money, when big budget blockbusters do sell out showings each and every day, and they charge way too much for a ticket to get in. if 200 people go to a showing of a film at £5.00 they make £1000, times that by five showing a day and you've got £5000. Times that by, on average, 10 individual movies shown per day, 50,000. Times that by 7, thats £350,000 in a week. Thats over a million a month. Granted they have fees and bills and people to pay. Lets say half, no, 3 quarters, of that money gets chewed up. You are still left with 87,500 per week. Don't get me wrong, you aren't breaking the bank, but if anything, my figures are probably lower than the average, and missing that "vital" cinema snack section. Thus, add a little bit on top, £100,000 a week, £400,000 a month, £4,800,000 a year. What exactly do you need to buy that costs that amount of money? If films want to get seen, they have to go to your cinemas. If people want to see the films, they go to your cinemas. Now you want people to fork out extra, not even at the RRP, but DOUBLE, for snacks, when they can get double the goods for half the price across the street? Do us a favor. Lower the prices and offer more, or shut the hell up.
small_thing Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 07:26
its not just the food its the whole cinema-going experience which is expensive. they hardly even make much of a concession for students and the elderly either anymore i noticed the other day when i went down to my local. its no wonder that people turn to downloading more and more, simply to avoid the high prices. im not saying watching a blurry film on a computer screen is any substitute for the cinema, but it is understandable when you look at the cost of the whole outing. even before you've considered food, tickets for two adults come nearly to £20 and if you go to a cinema in the west-end, tickets are £10+ which is utterly ridiculous. anyway, i was supposed to be talking about food wasnt I? i seem to have started a rant about ticket prices lol the food is highly overpriced and yet we still buy it when we go to the cinema so of course theyre not going to put the prices down - its the same old story, as long as people are willing to pay then companies are going to push the prices to the limits. if everyone started to take a stand and cinemas observed a noticeable fall in their revenue from food and drinks then they might do something about it. so the question is, are we, the general public, ready to take a stand??
Marwood Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 09:18
I worked at a cinema for 2 years straight and then later (while at Uni) for about another year. If anyone complained about the food prices then we (the staff) would usually come back with "Don't like it? Don't buy it, boss"
I agree they are overpriced but then again I never get food when I'm in the cinema because I don't have much of a sweet tooth, not a big fan of popcorn and in my opinion the hotdogs and nachos don't qualify as food. Alos what about the noise and mess? Rustle, rustle, rustle, popcorn hitting the floor, someone cursing when they kick their drink over because they're too stupid to use the armrest cupholders. Also, sticky floors are a direct result of this and again as an ex-employee I can testify how hard it is to get those f*ckers clean when 1 sell out show of Harry Potter ends and you've got 10 minutes to clear up before another sell out show is due in.
But you should really ask this: is anyone forcing you to buy that stuff? Do you really need it when you're watching a film?
I don't agree with cinemas banning people's own food (unless it's fast food and will stink up the place because then you're likely to get complaints from other customers) but I think we're all bright enough to realise that cinema chains are a business and they're after monsterous profit. Hence selling goods at mega-prices. The only way they're going to drop is if no-one buys them anymore.
Therefore I say that if it bothers you that much rally support in your local community to boycott the food and drink when visiting the cinema. It won't work because kids will always want pick n' mix or popcorn to throw at each other in the screen but you can at least do something instead of whining
clare_star_ Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 09:49
I noticed that the cinema chain was a Cineworld - I go to one not far from that guy and I have to say I usually take my own drinks with me purely because I have one of those monthly passes and don't want to pay £2.00 for a bottle of water every time I go.
I've never been searched (though writing this, I'll probably be regularly from this point on) and if they are going to enforce this then I'll simply just not bother to buy anything while I'm there.
I know it's a business but I feel I pay enough already for my ticket!
rolygee Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 10:04
Smuggling in booze is much more fun.
woj101 Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 11:47
Can't go wrong with a bag of chocolate raisins from your local supermarket for no more than 80p - quiet, suckable, delicious.
I'm either going to take my own food in, or just not have any - ain't no way I'll pay foyer prices more than once a year. I even made my own popcorn at home once and took it in. Damn it was satisfying.
If sweet shops can survive by charging normal prices for sweets, why can't cinemas. I'm sure there are many parents (I know my mum was one) who would avoid trips to the cinema because of all the inevitable expense that would make a family-of-5 trip cost over £50.
If cinemas try to stop people taking their own food in, I just won't go. It's not like there's a shortage of films on TV/web/dvd.
kiquine Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 12:36
I love films and the big screen experience but often do not go for months after having a bad experience which usually includes one or several of the following: Air conditioning set to "freeze" People chatting as if they are sitting in their living rooms with no attempt to lower their voices Teenagers Noisy food, I try so hard not to sit near someone with a megabucket of popcorn, then one usually comes and sits next to me just as the lights go down.
I usually take my own packet of sweets as the cinema does not sell anything I want to buy. It is true that they only seem to supply unhealthy food. Last time I went to the cinema in Haymarket I noticed the threatening no food sign in the foyer but just thought that my Starbursts didn't count as I usually have a packet at the bottom of my bag even when I am not going to the cinema. If I was told I couldn't take them in I would never return to that cinema.
Art house and world cinema is the best to go and see as the audience is usually there because they really want to see the film, not to fill an afternoon as they have nothing better to do.
damiyann2 Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 12:48
I usually just make a sausage sandwich at home and then mosey on down to the cinema. sausage sandwiches are great because they can be smuggled easily. Just place it on your head and wear a hat over the top, the cinema staff will be none the wiser.
beanyg Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 13:39
I have 4 kids. Before you all shout "stop camplaining, you should have kept your you-know-what in your trousers" that's by the by, I just happen to have specially tailored easily removable trousers.
When we go on a family trip to the cinema, 2 adults and 2 kids tickets, popcorn, drinks, sweets it's just too expensive. So what happens? We tend not to go too often. The cinema loses out and we lose out.
The number of times I've arranged to meet the family at the cinema after work, without having eaten, is too numerous to mention. My wife usually brings in a sandwich for me, and I nibble away in the dark.
If the cinemas don't make enough on tickets, the sensible business plan would be to lower the prices on the concessions, less people will bring in their own food, more people will buy, more people will visit.
Then all they'd need to do is make it quicker and easier to get the concessions, so you don't have to wait in a gigantic queue, wondering whether you'll get served before the film starts - but that's another subject!
Anyway, I'm off to make another baby. See! My trousers are off already.
phillip martain Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 15:10
I thought the whole story of a mate of a mates twin brothers sister's son not being allowed into a cinema because they had food was an urban myth. surely this is breaking some sort of minor human right. i have walked in many a time with a tesco bag swinging full of confectionary goodness and no one has ever stopped me.
calisto Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 16:48
It really is about time this was out in the open,and cinema chains felt scrutiny for the outrageous prices not only to see a film, but for food bought in them. A local independent cinema near me booted out a family of 4 because they took their own food with them,as it was too expensive to buy the food for all 4 people at the cinema. Cinema chains charge too much to see a film,it should in my view be around half the price of normal going as it is,that way more people will go,and choose films that they wouldnt normally see,and it would open up cinema going to a wider range of people. i have been to cinemas and taken my own food with me,some times fruit,my own drink or sweets,why shouldn't i? But i also buy food at the cinemas too,as that is part of the experience. Cinemas really do have to buck their ideas up,i have seen loads of films in empty screens,why cant they drop the prices for a film thats not doing well to get people to see it. if this country is heading into a recession cinema is going to be one of the first things to suffer,mean while everybody will be downloading or copying movies and this will have a huge effect on the industry. But i also think that some film screenings should be food free,as that can have a distracting effect on the audience. And lets have ushers back and mobile phone blockers too! the cinemas need a wake up call,lets hear that bell ring!
joolzcarman Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 18:14
It's not the price I object to it's just I don't want to eat anything they sell. I don't eat sweets or fizzy drinks, I'm a vegetarian so the hot dogs are off limits, as for the nachos *shudder*, popcorn I occasionally have but it's not really food is it? I frequently see more than one film in a row so I can spend upwards of six hours in my local Cineworld. I need to eat something in that time that has some nutritional value. I will continue to take in a sandwich or something to keep me going in between films because it is not taking income away from the cinema...I wouldn't buy their food anyway.
Dirtdingus Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 20:53
If they make little on the tickets and need to sell food to survive, maybe they should just sell food and movie tickets as a required package. No, i can't see how that would work but just putting it out there, maybe like charging £10 per movie, where you get the whole schmear.
Regarding Postman Hack, if you have a cineworld in your town- you've got an unlimited card. You're not paying £5-6-7-8 everytime you go for tickets- you pay your £12 monthly like the rest of us. Also if you're paying £12/monthly for your cinematic buffet, you know your paying for your ticket in food. If you don't like having a Cineworld in your town, not buying the food would be the quickest way to shut the place down. Also we all know that taking food into cinemas is a bit naughty... like drinking cans of Stella on the st. or pouring corner-shop vodka into your coke in the pub toilets- no-ones passing their ticket to an usher while snacking on a KFC Bargain Bucket in full view.
Dirtdingus Posted on Saturday February 23, 2008, 21:07
I feel blessed to have a Cineworld in my city. They pretty much show everything i want to see and even some old films cos of strong ties with local film socities. I'm twentyfour but i've seen taxi driver, die hard, and dr strangelove on the big screen as intended. I'd happly dine on a dick for them. Best thing to come out of France ever. I'm sychophantic because they treat me so well like an older sibling-so what, if they empty my pockets a lil while offering to save me money.
Above all they're good to me and i want to see them stick around.
jungtheforeman Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 10:11
The attitude of cinemas in attempting to monopolise food retailing for the 3-4 hours that patrons (remember them?) are in their premises is reprehensible, unattractive and corrupt. Firstly, their pricing is ridiculous. This is arguably because the cost of presenting the movie is allegedly borne only by the cost of the tickets and therefore their profit is only derived from the sale of food. But Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury can only make profit by selling food and they manage to sell at less than half the price. Even given the power that major supermarkets hold, there is NO argument for selling at double when an independent high street sweet shop can undercut by 40%. Secondly, anybody with obesity or diabetes (or any other dietary condition) cannot easily buy anything that is nutritious and/or tasty in the cinema without injuring their health. I am diabetic and can only think of water, diet drink and maybe salted popcorn as food I can purchase at my local Cineworld, yet they too have tried to confiscate fruit from me when I brought it to their business premises when seeing a film there. Shame on Cineworld and shame on all chain cinemas who wish for monopoly over community service. Most people nowadays have but the one local multiplex to choose from when wanting to see a film on the big screen, unless they live in a major town where the choice is often two or three times as great but still exactly the same. Isn't it time these establishments recognised their role in community service and treated customers as human beings rather than impose their petty will upon them without question or exemption? Richard Mills, firstname.lastname@example.org, Luton, Bedfordshire
Ricorodrigeuz Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 10:59
When I did my work experience at my local cinema I heard the staff complaining about the cost of tickets and I totally agree with them. If you were to go for nachos with a drink, that would cost a similar amount to a student ticket which is around £6.
When I go to the cinema I just take a bottle of water and a kitcat from home because its way cheaper.
Amezzeray Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 13:42
while I DO agree that tickets and food is overpriced, perhaps I should mention that the picture in the yahoo article isnt a good cinema to pick. it is my local and I avoid it when I can even though it is the cheapest within 10 miles... so I have to drive to the next cineworld a few miles away even though there is a £3 difference in tickets and £2 difference in popcorn.
I would much rather pay £6.80 for a decent day out with air-con, a big screen and seats that don't wobble the whole bloody row everytime someone feels uncomfortable!
my part...!!! lol x
Amezzeray Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 13:45
OH! forget to say in my last comment... that cinema is a 30 second walk away from a brilliant sweet shop called "Sweet Sensations" where me and my sisters buy rainbow drops, bags of popcorn (10p each!!), the full monty!!
and my and my father are alwas walking into the GOOD cinema with a CARRIER BAG full of food and drinks and we have never ever been stopped!
errrrr! RANT OVER lolz
shadowkatie Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 13:48
Granted, my experience is primarily stateside regarding the economics of the cinema, but for the first few weeks that any cinema plays a film the ticket sales go almost entirely to the studios/distributors. As few films play more than a couple weeks in the cinema, the main source of income for any cinema is in concessions. It is for that reason that I frequently shell out a few pounds that I could probably use far better to support the cinemas I use. Part of the real problem is the way that studios spend far more money than they should to transfer digital media to film for projecting in cinemas. Were cinemas to switch to digital projection systems, this problem wouldn't be nearly so bad. Ticket prices wouldn't need to be so high (although greed might keep them where they are) and concessions might lower as well.
I can't say that sneaking in healthier options is such a bad thing though.
alexthelion Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 13:55
I'm an actual cinema manager (holds head in shame) and if im totally honest although its company policy no one actually stops people bringing their own food (well one of our staff does but hes a bit special really). he only problem we have is that when people bring their own food in they make even more mess then those with the popcorn and drinks sold from concessions. - yes this is actually possible. Im paid to clear up the rubbish but ill admit i do begrudge having to clear up 30 or 40 sweet wrappers and clean up spilt drinks etc that we dont even sell. I find this whole think hilarious that there are epople out there working in the industry who actually dont have anything better to do. i mean ive got tons of work to do and so do my staff, we dont have time to have arguments with customers over food. although i specifically dont allow hot food through, and i would ban hotdogs if i could as i personally find the smell of any hot food irritating. And i totally agree that cinemas should offer more healthy options, but alas i have learnt that whatever you do it is not good enough for some people.
Fluxcapaciwatsit Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 18:24
I take my own food in all the time, I even sat and ate a yoghurt once. If I bought a great big bag of popcorn every time I went to the cinema I'd probably a) need a crane to air lift me out when the credits rolled and b) be completely bancrupt.
sillitoechris Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 18:42
Yeah - I take my own food in everytime I go to the cinema. Unless I am feeling particularly flush and have never been turned away.
The best trick is to go to Tesco or wherever and but stuff and just carry it in - you could just as easily be carrying toilet roll and washing up liquid in there as food - anyway, as far as I know they dont search bags at cinems and if they do find a couple of sausage rolls or scotch eggs in there theres no proof you are gonna eat them in the cinema -
I mean you could take a bottle of whisky in there as long as you dont ask for a cup with ice from the concessions stand and start knocking it back in front of the cinema managers nose.
sowasred2012 Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 18:48
Used to work in a cinema, and I generally agree with alexthelion - most chains have that policy, but 9 times out of 10 the usher will let you through because either a: the usher thinks it's a ridiculous policy or b: the usher is too lazy/shy/busy/hungover to check your bags and turn you away. The only time I've seen people turned away is when they've tried to walk in with a stonking great pizza or a family bucket of KFC etc, shit that'll really stink the place out and piss everyone off.
Someone ought to do a Supersize Me doco on cinema chain food, if only to make the head honchos of these cinema chains sit up and notice that more people would actually make purchases at the concessions stands if they could choose to buy something that a: doesn't taste like it's trying and failing to be food and b: won't give them an instant coronary.
probson Posted on Sunday February 24, 2008, 19:09
It is my opinion that probablly 75% of the people who eat in the cinema are the same ones who talk, so ban it altogether and hopefully the annoying little runts will stop going...
thekingofyou Posted on Monday February 25, 2008, 13:52
Wow. Some scintillating comments here. I'm a cinema manager, so here are a few Q+A's for you to stop the ramblings of fools like stuxmusic...
Q. Why is the food so expensive? A. As some of you pointed out, most cinemas make very little from box office sales (trust me stuxmusic, cinemas don't make anywhere near your ridiculous cash suppositions a week!). The distributors take the prime cut (sometimes asking for too much, which is why your local Odeon isn't showing Rambo and why the Vue chain almost refused to show Sin City on release). The profits have to come from somewhere to make it a viable business, therefore, it's the food. It would seem people just cannot appreciate how much it costs to run a cinema, which is fair enough unless you work there. Does anyone know how much it costs to just power the projectors Xenon bulb for two hours? Air con? Film rental? Site rental (£60,000+ month). Payroll. Utilities. Couriers. IT costs. Property tax. Insurance. COGS. Cleaning supplies, to name but a few of the outgoings. Bear in mind that anything up to 60% of screenings each week run at a loss. Average screen occupancy runs at 24% where I work during an average week. Sure, when a blockbuster is released, the screens sell out, but that is when the film rental terms (yes, we don't pluck the prints from thin air for free) are at their highest. A sold out, interlocked screening can yield as little as £120 depending on the terms and screen...! That covers the cost of body fluid kits for the kids who've thrown up on Saturday afternoon.
Don’t get me wrong, most cinemas do make a healthy profit, but at least get informed before you start assuming that every show during the day has 200 people in it and the cinemas make £400,000 a month. It’s simply not true! Armchair accounting! How much profit do the distributors make? Where is the blog ranting against the distributors opening week cut?
thekingofyou Posted on Monday February 25, 2008, 13:53
Q. Why are the tickets so expensive? A. It's not dirt cheap, but is it really that expensive? £6.40 for two hours of entertainment? Compare to other forms of entertainment. £30 for footy ticket to stand in the freezing cold for 90+ minutes to watch your team lose. £8 for two games of bowling that last 30mins each. Two hours in the pub costs more than £6.40. Choose your poison. It’s expensive for families, but what isn’t? Why don’t you try to spend some quality time with your kids in the park instead of bringing them to see some crap for two hours because you have nothing to say to them and no imagination?
Q. If your food were cheaper, you'd sell more and make more money. A. Are you crazy? Are you seriously assuming the suits at head office haven't calculated exactly what the premium prices are for food? If they could make more money with cheaper food, they would!!! If people didn't make such a mess with their food, we wouldn't need so many staff to keep the place clean and things would be cheaper. Hang around during the credits after your next blockbuster to see how disgusting people can be in two hours. Long story short, if you don’t want to pay for food, for the love of God, make a choice and DO NOT BUY IT. Legally, cinemas can only stop you from taking in hot foods that may affect the ‘comfort’ of others. Same as public transport people…
Q. Why aren't you showing 'insert film' at your cinema? A. Again down to film terms. Unless we agree to show the two dire, piece of crap films from Universal/Fox etc. at the beginning of the year, we won't get the prints in for the decent films later in the year. Now times that by the 10+ distributors you deal with and see where the problems start occurring. It would be great if we can simply choose what we wanted to show and how many times a day to show it, but its not that simple (a growing problem for some independents now too depending on the rights to the films).
thekingofyou Posted on Monday February 25, 2008, 13:54
Cinema is always going to be expensive if Brad needs his £30m paycheck and Michael Bay has blown up £50m of a city during film your watching. If people didn't flock to these moronic blockbusters that need to hoover up so much in revenue to fund themselves, cinema would be cheaper, films would be better, but it seems we’ve come too far now. I'm not justifying what cinemas charge, they are there to make a profit, but at least get slightly informed before you launch into the same tedious tirades. Or, maybe even TALK to your local Manager about it rather than moaning at them in the foyer? The cinema business model is changing. The advent of digital will see cinemas moving away from showing just films and tapping into other revenue streams. I’ve become so disillusioned with the dirty multiplex business from working here, but not as disillusioned as I am with the general public for fuelling the rubbish you then complain about. Why does no one complain about the ethics of the Coke company, only the price?
Do everyone a favour, support your local independent before they’re gone forever. Most multiplexes will survive by adapting, regardless. Fight to retain that funny feeling you got in the pit of your stomach the first time the lights went down during your first film for future generations. I’m sick of this middle class affliction where people associate themselves as being cinema buffs, they will pick up the programme from their local inde, talk about how superb Daniel Day Lewis is, how they really need to see ‘Babette’s Feast’ again, show off their massive DVD collection, yet only actually physically go to their local inde once a year! Then complain when it shuts down and blame the multiplexes!
Oh, but that’s right, you’re all off to see ‘Iron Man’ aren’t you. I’m sure it’s a film that will stay with you forever…
sonofliberty1 Posted on Tuesday February 26, 2008, 02:47
'thekingofyou'... well said my firend! Couldn't have put it better.
sonofliberty1 Posted on Tuesday February 26, 2008, 02:58
brokenking Posted on Tuesday February 26, 2008, 14:03
A few years back I actually worked on the food counters at the local multiplex. The best thing about it, was that whenever someone would ask me whether or not the nacho cheese or hot dogs was good, I'd always reply 'I don't wouldn't touch it'. I only ever buy either the ice cream (so many great favours) or the pick and mix (which I only do if I havn't bought a bag of lemon bon bons before arriving). Healthy food should be made available in all ciemas I only ever feel sick after eating the sweets.
The food is so overpriced that I am very much in favour of smuggling in food. If you do bring in food from outside you might actually have change from ten quid.
DoubleD Posted on Wednesday February 27, 2008, 01:14
What kind of tiresome, Daily Star worthy tabloid crap is this? I really expected more from the Empire writers. All this is doing is stirring up mis-information about the pricing structures at cinemas.
This is in no way a balenced way to approach this subject.
I note Helen quotes at the top of her blog "Some reports assert that the box for the popcorn costs more than the popcorn that fills it...". Which reports exactly Helen? Can you provide evidence of these reports? Or did you mean to say "what I'm guessing is..." or "a friend told me once that ..."
Helen goes on to say "The reply from cinema managers is that they don't make a profit...". Which Managers? Wouldn't it actually be a good idea to have a response from a cinema manager/chain here? Maybe explain why the prices are what they are? Considering you are a magazine centered around film?
It took until post 115 for someone in the industry to provide a sensible reply as to why you are actually paying what you pay. If there were any journalistic standards at Empire at all, surely you would have sought a comment or explanation from a source before promoting such senseless cinema bashing? Of course people will think food is overpriced unless they understand the whole story. An evenly presented argument would at least let us make a descision based on all the facts as to why we should/shouldn't smuggle in food. Whether it is too expensive or not is beside the point when you address the issue in such a crass way. I truely expected more.
I look forward to some kind of response from Empire, but expect nothing.
Helen OHara Posted on Wednesday February 27, 2008, 08:15
DoubleD, what "bashing" did I do? I laid out both sides of the story, EXPLICITLY said that cinemas argue that they only make a profit from concessions. Moreover, it's a blog, a comment on the news, not a piece of reporting where there's a duty to get quotes from all parties. My main criticism was that food sold in cinemas is not the sort of food conducive to a good cinema experience - why exactly do you think that's so out of line?
Some figures on that popcorn box factoid, albeit from the US. The kernels used in an average box of popcorn cost 2cents. The box costs 10 cents. The whole thing's sold for about $5.
As for the argument that it's the distributors who ask too much, obviously that's something that cinemas and distributors need to keep wrangling about. It's true that the emphasis on opening weekends has hurt cinemas, but at the same time, they're part of the industry too and can't wash their hands of all responsibility.
DoubleD Posted on Thursday February 28, 2008, 13:58
I dont recall crunching my way through a box of kernels on my last trip to cinemworld? Some degree of preparation (free preparation it would seem by your "factoid" as it only factors the kernels). Apologies for making you Google for answers so early in the morning.
My local, gets man high bags of popcorn shipped in. I now its just a blog but I did some research on a trip to my local last night for you. A quick question with a staff member and she told me she reckons the bags cost about ten quid and looked to hold about 40 boxes worth of popcorn, I guessed that bit but its just a blog so no duty of fact apparently. That would make the popcorn in the box 25p. She didnt know how much the boxes cost but i doubt it was that much each. There, easy.
Its clear what the main focus of the posts has been here, its not about types of food conductive for a good experience if you read it. I will chillout now. Just sharpen the standards (across the whole mag?) its getting lazy.
Helen OHara Posted on Thursday February 28, 2008, 16:14
Well, DD, you'll notice that my blog introduced the question of the types of food conducive to a good cinema experience, so that's not only the focus of the posts; it's also the focus of the blog. And there's no dulling of standards to write a pure comment piece - that's what blogs are. The fact is that there ARE statistics to back up what I said. Obviously for you to be happy I should have included them in the first place, but even on your calculations cinemas are making several thousand per cent profit on popcorn, supporting rather than undermining the thrust of the point I was illustrating with that particular factoid.
The fact that multiplexes get the corn ready-popped, incidentally, might also be seen as something to criticise, don't you think?
DoubleD Posted on Friday February 29, 2008, 14:20
Hello! Im well aware my calculations supported rather than undermined your 'factoid', the point was at least I provided them, which you did not originally. Im not, and havent been, defending prices at any point. Regardless of outgoings/kernels cinemas make a fortune, and yawn, yes of course ready popped popcorn should be something to criticise, i just appreciate balance on contentious issues. The problem is/was your blog encouraged the same old arguments about food prices at cinemas. The bulk of what you wrote does not relate to food conducive to the experience (one paragraph from six). Your intro piece with linked story sets the tone which is loaded throughout (“Should we just suck it up?” “horrendous mark-ups “ “burden for regular cinemagoers” all refer to pricing) and encourages boring cinema 'bashing', my original gripe. Of course everyone is going to slate cinemas, its like handing torches to the angry mob. The larger point, and my main concern, was I felt Empires standards generally have slipped. An opinion.
Speaking of standards, is it really just a “pure comment piece” when someone is wined and dined by the story supervisor of Ratatouille for a blog which coincides with/promotes the films DVD release (who did pick up the tab that day?) and also a fawning two part piece on Disney history in the actual magazine at the same time? Said article contains four box outs, all of which refer to Disney films (and you had 30 to choose from) that, coincidentally, have just been released or will be released on DVD over the next month or two, and each box out makes a point of highlighting the release date at the bottom. 5 star reviews? Advertising or article? Tabloid? Personally, im sure its all just 100% coincidence.
You made a point earlier regarding the opening weekend/distributor issue of saying cinemas are part of the industry and cant wash their hands completely, which is true, but just how dirty are Empires hands these days?
marco772 Posted on Sunday March 2, 2008, 17:02
I find the price of popcorn absolutely ludicrous and, it seems, you don't even get the option of spraying the stuff with artery clogging hot butter any more. Mmm, tasty (and sadly, I mean that).
The last time I paid for any cinema food (and only because I was very hungry) was a hot dog at LeisureWorld. For about £4 (sob, it still stings) I had a dry bap sliced roughly down the middle and a gently warmed, saugase-shaped object of no fixed origin or flavour slapped into it. No onions, no mustard (which I hate but I like to have the option), no ketchup. Actually, I say no flavour, but it tasted absolutely disgusting. My hunger saw to it that I scoffed most of it down, unfortunately.
But I didn't enjoy it.
Nowadays, I stock up at the nearest Newsagent and fill my shopping bag of the minute with sandwiches, fruit and a fizzy drink (and Butterkist if I can find any). The staff don't seems to care. Last time I took a bag of popcorn in with me I helped myself to one of the empty cartons on the way in and filled it up in the theatre.
I do however generally go to early afternoon showings on my days off (less chance of being irritated by "talkers" and "rustlers") so maybe they're a little more stringent in the evenings. But I strongly doubt it.
Rather sadly, and as others have noted, I too get a little thrill once I'm safely ensconsed and arranging my mini feast before me. I'm sticking it to "the man" (whoever he is). Yeah, that'll learn 'em for charging so much...
trogette Posted on Thursday March 6, 2008, 01:32
took my homemade pizza one night, cut up in bitesize chunks, in a box, with a fork. Quietest, and best smelling, food in a cinema *ever*
THEJOKER19 Posted on Thursday March 6, 2008, 23:54
I believe that the reason why Items like Nachos and popcorn are sold in cinemas is because you can make that particular food item last an entire showing of a film. Therefore, you are thoroughly occupied drinking and eating and it is satisfies the customer and their needs.
UTB Posted on Friday March 7, 2008, 13:35
I don't know what people are complaining about. Charging £7 for a bag of sweets and not letting people bring their own food deters people from making so much noise that people like me who go to WATCH THE FILM, have now stopped going to the cinema altogether.
The last time I went someone was eating whatever they'd brought from home wrapped in 5 layers of tin foil, and couldn't possibly keep quiet for more than 5 minutes.
Popocorn I understand, but if you can't go 2 hours without stuffing your gullet, you should probably see a doctor.
calisto Posted on Saturday March 8, 2008, 13:49
i feel its fair to point out,that distributors squeeze cinemas to the point of 90% of cinema takings goes back to the distributor. Of course then the cinemas try and make it back on food,it seems a little less greed from the distributors and reduced ticket prices may go a long way to helping cinemas,from the chains to independents,and bring people back from out of their homes into the screens.
BatinaHat Posted on Monday March 10, 2008, 17:35
The reason cinemas sell things like popcorn, nachos, and fountain drinks like coke etc. is that they are super cheap for cinemas to buy in the first place. The margins on these types of foods/drinks are huge. Margins for snacks that are prepackaged into individual portions or food that takes a bit of time to prepare tends to shrink the profit to be made.
Also, I don't think increasing ticket prices would help cinemas make more profit since distributors seem to take a percentage of the face price and not a fixed amount (?) - therefore increasing the price on the food would stop the distributors getting their mitts on it and doesn't discourage so many people away from that cinema. More advertising, kids parties and onsite bar/coffee shops seem to be the way to go. Either that or lower the price of drinks and charge a fiver for the bathroom...
cdjwfan Posted on Saturday March 15, 2008, 20:05
A friend once told me that it costs less than 1 cent to produce 2 litres of Coca Cola. I'd reckon that costs are similar for popcorn and nachos etc. That's why they sell them I suppose, unfortunately popcorn also happens to be one of the worlds loudest foods. But then again, what food is quiet, manageable and relatively long lasting that you can eat on your lap, in the dark? I struggle to think of many. Another thing, would cinema be the same without popcorn? Has anyone tried it for an extended period of time? When I had braces on, I wasn't allowed to eat popcorn because it tended to break them. I go to the cinema at least twice a week, so 104 trips a year for just over 2 years = over 220 visits to the cinema without popcorn, and let me tell you, it's just not the same. Bringing fruit etc in is a novelty every once in a while, but, lets face it: the cinema wouldn't have the same magic without the treats that come with it. It's a fact of life. I think it's just the cost, rather than the noise or unhealthy nature of cinema food that people don't like. Admittedly, trips to the cinema are amounting to over €15 for me, and that is a bit annoying.