Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 by Germain Lussier
Going to the movies can be extremely expensive and one Detroit resident is doing something about it. Twenty-something Joshua Thompson was so upset over paying $8 for a soda and candy at his local AMC that he filed a class action lawsuit against the theater in hopes that prices would be dropped.
Does this man think he’s being forced to buy food at the theater? Does he not realize a theater makes the majority of money from concessions? Before anyone rallies behind Thompson, consider these questions and more after the jump.
The news of the lawsuit was first reported in the Detroit Free Press (via Cinemablend). You can head there for a lot of the particulars in the case, including input from a few law experts who believe the case will go nowhere.
One thing the article doesn’t mention, though, is how dependent theaters are on revenues from concessions. Though it varies from movie to movie and weekend to weekend, some studios can take upwards of 80% of ticket sales from a theater. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. So though you think a $12 movie ticket is expensive, only about $2 potentially goes to the theater.
With such a small profit, how can they afford to pay for the theater, employees, utilities and more? Through concession sales. Sure you can buy a soda across the street for $1 and it costs $4 at the theater, but you’re paying not only for the convenience but also for the entire experience of movie going as a whole.
That’s why, if I buy concessions – which is not very often – I don’t mind paying a premium. It’s not like I’m being forced to spend $14 on a large popcorn and soda but I feel like it’s easy and I’m helping more people see more movies.
And those are just the simple fiscal facts of the issue. What annoys me even more is larger cultural context. What gives this guy the right to sue a company over the prices they charge? He’s not being forced to go there or patronize their theater. AMC isn’t a monopoly. If he’s unhappy, he has the right to voice that, but to think he and others deserve their money back is enraging. Why is his money more valuable than the money being used to give every other theater patron the pleasure of going to the movies? In a way, by suing the theater, he’s saying the food is more important than the movies themselves. And I disagree.
What seems like a pretty straightforward issue is not quite that. Do you think Thompson has a point? Do you think he’s being selfish and petty or is he a symbol for needed change in the movie business?