Most theaters in the U.S. only keep on average 8% of ticket sales. The vast majority of their income is made at the concession stand. According to one Morningstar equity analyst, of every dollar spent on candy and soda in movie theaters, 85% is pure profit. In Yahoo Finance’s article “6 Outrageously Overpriced Products” they calculated the average markup for movie theater popcorn was 1,275%.
At the grocery store, microwave popcorn runs about $3 per box, and each box includes three 3.5 ounce bags. So why on earth would consumers even consider paying a whopping $6 for a single medium-sized bag of popcorn in the movie theater? No one knows exactly why – but for some bizarre reason, movie-goers continue to drain their wallets to crunch on a bag full of those greasy little nuggets during their favorite film. After considering that movie theaters purchase popcorn in bulk, the average markup of movie theater popcorn is a whopping 1275%! At that steep price, you’d think those buttery bags were laced with gold.
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