Going to the movies is something we all love to do but with rising ticket prices and the cost of all the added extras, those regular trips to the movies could be costing you more than you think. And with theater owners relying on concessions, it’s not just the ticket prices that are going to continue increasing.
Up to 70 percent of the money you pay for your ticket to the movies is going to movie distributors and studios, which means the concessions added on top are making money for theater owners. Add the extortionate prices of the popcorn to your expensive ticket, and this trip to the movies is not going to be a cheap one!
It’s All About the Concessions
Speaking to ABC News, one cinema owner explained how he relies on concessions to make money. But he also, more surprisingly, added that the auditorium is purposely filled with the smell of popcorn to entice movie viewers to buy it. Using an exhaust pipe which is connected to the popcorn machine, the smell of popcorn is filtered through to get moviegoers salivating and heading over to the theater shop to buy popcorn! Sneaky but genius!
These concessions boast a high markup, which is how theater owners can generate their income. Take your average bag of popcorn that you buy – this can cost as little as 8 cents to make and can cost around 22 to 35 cents to buy while tubs can carry costs of between 85 cents and $1. You may even find that $8 is the price tag on a large tub of popcorn, which, when incorporating the kernels and cost of the tub, could result in a 700 percent markup!
Getting More Than What You Paid For
However, it’s not just the financial cost of going to the movies that you may want to watch out for, as there could also be a lot of germs hiding where you’re sitting. ABC News “20/20” also conducted some tests to find out what germs could be lurking within auditoriums. They swabbed a few different areas within theaters in Los Angeles and New York, collecting from eight L.A. theaters and nine New York theaters to gather 17 samples in total. They then asked Philip M. Tierno, New York University Professor of Microbiology to analyze the results.
Speaking about the research, Tierno said that it’s in people’s interest to be aware of the fact that areas of the theater, including the seat and armrest are contaminated by the people who have sat there before you. When you have open lesions or you’re wearing shorts, you could be exposing yourself to the risk of an infection.
The swabs actually found evidence that in one seat in New York City there was bacteria that is usually found in soil and cattle. Other samples revealed bacteria that you’d normally find in yeast and human feces. And in two of the armrest samples, Tierno said they’d found them to be “grossly contaminated” with yeast. Yuck!
Alternative Sources of Entertainment
As there are no laws in place that tell theater owners how often they should clean their seats, the cost of tickets and popcorn aren’t the only potential costs you could face. With your health also a potential cost when you’re visiting the cinema, it’s perhaps time to look at other avenues for entertainment. From cheap concert tickets to nights in with your own movies and popcorn, there are hundreds of ideas that could save you a lot of money.
You could also look to your local community for some ideas as to what you can do, with festivals, book readings, cookery classes, county fairs and art exhibitions being just some of the enjoyable activities that you could get involved in. You could also look to nature for your entertainment, including embarking on a camping trip, star gazing, enjoying a walk along a nature trail, going for a picnic, finding a river to read a book by or bird-watching. These are just some of the amazing activities you can do outdoors with family and friends.
Whilst you’re not going to want to stop watching your favorite movies, there are some great alternatives for your entertainment. Just look around you for some inspiration and try some new things – you could always wait for the movie to come out on DVD or on your TV package – at least then you can watch it as many times as you like!
Louie Rees is a Father of four managing life on a single-income budget. He writes about personal finance from a family point of view; contributing to several online publications each month.