Social Question

ragingloli's avatar

Is it immoral to smuggle food into the cinema?

Asked by ragingloli (46738points) March 21st, 2019

To avoid having to pay for overpriced junk food.

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23 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I always felt like it was cheating. Besides, you can go 2 hours without eating so why do it? I never understood people who did that.

jca2's avatar

I don’t think it’s wrong. I can easily go two hours without eating, but if I’m taking my daughter and her friends, they may want to eat as part of the experience.

I have paid, in theaters where I live (one of the most expensive parts of the country), 8 dollars for popcorn and 5 or 6 for a drink. So we have a 12 dollar ticket and possible 15 more for food.

There’s a new theater opened up in CT that has a Shop Rite across the street. The store employees told me that their candy sales went way up when the theater opened. I’ll go to the Shop Rite and buy a box of candy for $1 rather than spend $6 at the theater. I’ll buy a six pack of Diet Coke and take a bottle into the theater, rather than spend $6 for a drink at the theater.

If it were cost prohibitive, some people might not go at all. Would the theater rather have people not attend at all, or have them attend and bring their own food? It’s just another way of looking at it.

Last week, I took my daughter and her three friends to a school play. 15 dollars per ticket =75 dollars for 5 of us. Food and drinks were one dollar each, which is our speed.

Other people would say well if you can’t afford to go out, you shouldn’t go out. I can afford to go out, but if I can save on theater food that’s marked up 700%, then I will gladly.

tinyfaery's avatar

I always heard that it’s the concessions that keep movie theaters open, not the ticket price.

Immoral, no. But if you want to keep your movie theater in business, it’s probably a good idea to not do it too often.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Hard to say, my mother used to do it, but I always got upset at her for breaking the rules.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course not. It may be true that theater owners survive on selling blatantly overpriced stale popcorn, I see no sensible reason to settle for extortion.

anniereborn's avatar

No. I used to work at move theaters. Here is a secret….we didn’t care. It was just corporate policy. And prices are way too high. However we did have a family try to come in eating McDonald’s and had to draw the line.

2davidc8's avatar

I don’t think it’s wrong, because they don’t sell what I want to eat— or drink.
Now, if I wanted some popcorn, I think it would be wrong to bring your own.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Only if you are a cannibal.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Not just ok but paying the inflated prices and encouraging this gouging is immoral.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I actually went looking for Hot Tamales in a convenience store a bit ago…they didn’t have any!

canidmajor's avatar

Films for theaters are made specifically to be shown in theaters. If the studios are holding the theaters hostage to high costs, it is just a bad business plan. I see no reason to support somebody else’s bad business plan.
And I really don’t want to pay for snacks I don’t like.

No, it’s not immoral to smuggle preferred snacks in.

And every time this is raised, a few people talk about how everyone should be able to go for two hours without eating. Yes, that is true, but sometimes snacks help keep kids from fidgeting, and sometimes a little nosh will prevent a hypoglycemic slump, and sometimes snacks are just fun.

JLeslie's avatar

I can only remember one theater where there was actually a sign no outside food and drink. Maybe other theaters have that unwritten policy though. I remember once talking to someone who worked at a theater, and she said where she worked people were allowed to bring in outside food, they didn’t care.

I don’t think it is immoral. They have the chutzpah to charge huge premiums; well, then they are less likely to sell the stuff. Imagine if it was just a little more expensive than at the corner store, maybe they would sell, and make a bigger profit in the end? I have to say I am so conditioned that it will be expensive that I would not even know they are selling food at reasonable prices, because I just never bother to go to the concession stand. Although, my experience is theaters that sell meals, like regular restaurant food, rather than popcorn and hotdogs, the prices seem to consistently be reasonable on those meals.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jca2 “Would the theater rather have people not attend at all, or have them attend and bring their own food? It’s just another way of looking at it.”

Well the theater makes it’s money off concessions, not ticket sales, so it’s the same effect to them either way.

jca2's avatar

@Darth_Algar: I was relieved that people here who have worked in theaters said that the theaters don’t care if people bring in their own food. Apparently they’re happy for the ticket sales.

anniereborn's avatar

@jca2 I was one of those who worked in movie theaters.
However there are differences between those owned by a corporation and those owned independently. It makes much more difference to the latter.
There are also differences between employee status.
An usher/cashier/concessions worker (as I was) pretty much just care about the free movies and hanging with their other friends who work there. The higher up you go, the more you care.

JLeslie's avatar

I remember reading that in America on average a much bigger percentage of ticket sales goes back to the movie producer or distributor (whoever sells the movie to the theatre) than in other countries. Maybe that’s part of the problem? Unreasonable prices for the movie in the first place fir the theater to buy the movie. It was over 50%, but it wasn’t 100%. Still, let’s say it’s 60 or 70%, the rest isn’t profit, some of that money goes to run the theater, but my bet is they do make some money from ticket sales.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: I agree. Food from concession stands can’t be the only thing keeping a theater open.

anniereborn's avatar

I have zero idea how things work now with digital. Back in my day it was those huge reels for the projectionist.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe cheap matinee prices they make nothing on the ticket.

I’m pretty sure my movie theatres here don’t have matinee prices, I do get 50¢ off since I’m a resident. There are three theatres in town, each theatre has several movies running. The earliest shows are 8:30am! I don’t know how busy those times are, but I know people go to the 10:00am shows.

Here’s the website. http://www.thevillagestheatres.com I know the Realto has really early 8:00 shows, I’m not sure about the others. They all have 10:00 something.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jca2 “I was relieved that people here who have worked in theaters said that the theaters don’t care if people bring in their own food. Apparently they’re happy for the ticket sales.”

Of course they don’t care. They’re not high enough on the pay scale to care. Ask ownership and you’ll probably get a different answer.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Films are booked by the theater on a week-to-week basis. Generally speaking the first week or two of box office receipts all go back to the distributor. From then on the theater can negotiate a percentage of the box office take. This percentage grows higher the longer a movie is at that theater. The flipside of this is that with each week attendance for the movie drops more and more. So by the time a movie’s is a few weeks into its run the theater may well be getting 50% of the box office, but there might be 10 show up to see it. At a certain point it costs the theater more to keep booking the movie than what they can make from it.

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