Here's What America's Favorite Concession Choices Are

When it comes to going to the movies, Nicole Kidman is correct. ​​We do come to the theater for magic, but we also come to the theater for massively inflated prices. Going to the movies without making a pitstop at the concession stand is a lot like not wearing shoes in a public bathroom: I mean, you can do it, but you really shouldn't. As we celebrate the kickoff of summer movie season, the nation's largest movie ticketing service, Fandango, released the results of a survey regarding movie lovers' favorite concession snacks. The site surveyed 2,500 movie fans across the country throughout the month of May to figure out the hottest snack trends and regional differences.

"Memorial Day Weekend signals the start of the summer moviegoing season when fans crave those spectacular popcorn movies," said Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis. "We call them 'popcorn movies' for a reason: Because concessions are an essential part of the theatrical experience." This summer is chock full of popcorn movies like "Top Gun: Maverick," "Jurassic World Dominion," and "Thor: Love and Thunder," which means it's the perfect time for a snack attack. As the Fandango survey revealed, 81% of moviegoers surveyed agreed that the theatrical experience is enhanced by snacks, with 71% saying that they missed indulging in cinema concessions when theaters closed during the early months of the pandemic. We've got the full results of the survey here for you and while some results are obvious (like popcorn taking the top spot), the results of the evergreen debate between Red Vines and Twizzlers may surprise you.

Popcorn maintains the concession crown

83% of those surveyed claimed movie theater popcorn simply tastes better, which is an absolute fact that cannot be argued. Microwave popcorn or stovetop Jiffy Pop is fine for at-home movie watching adventures, but don't you dare try to compare movie theater popcorn with some weird health-conscious air-popped nonsense. If the butter doesn't taste like it came in a chemical vat, it ain't worth it! 76% of participants said they're more likely to eat popcorn in the theater than they are at home, which only further proves my previous point. Movie lovers are so obsessed with popcorn that 66% admit to ordering large or extra-large sizes every time, with nearly half (47%) wishing for a bottomless popcorn bucket option. I was not surveyed, but I am absolutely part of that 47% in my heart. When I die, bury me in movie theater popcorn and let the salt and butter mummify me.

Outside of the popcorn realm, 53% said that nachos are the best hot snack (which is gigantic pretzel erasure, if you ask me). 77% said they avoid messy concessions like nachos on a date, which is a wise choice. Personally, I have a vendetta against movie theater nachos. It's not that they aren't delicious (god bless chemical cheese), but some people are absolute ghouls who will throw their trash on the ground with complete disrespect for theater staff and nachos almost certainly land face down, making everyone's lives tougher. Don't be that jerk who throws cheese on the floor. This has been a PSA.

Candy, girl, you are my world

58% of those surveyed said they prefer a mix of sweet and salty snacks, with half mixing their popcorn with candy. M&Ms took the top prize with Reese's Pieces close behind. Raisinets, Goobers, and Milk Duds were also cited as great popcorn mixins, but I have major concerns for the Milk Duds crowd. First off, the only reason Reese's Pieces didn't take home the gold is because peanut allergies exist, as that is the premiere popcorn mixing candy (in my irrefutable opinion). All of the candies mentioned offer a decently similar texture, so you can snack with ease. Milk Duds? Yeah, they're delicious, but when mixed with popcorn, they're only going to slow you down.

Peanut M&Ms ranked as the best overall chocolate-based candy, with Twizzlers taking the crown for non-chocolate based candy. Personally, I think it's only because Red Vines straight up aren't available in half the country, because they're the supreme licorice. 47% percent of those surveyed said they would purchase another licorice brand if their favorite wasn't offered, which as a Red Vine lover, I can attest to having done while living in the Midwest. Admittedly, Twizzlers have better specialty options, but as a traditional red licorice, their stale waxy flavor just can't compete. Junior Mints were chosen as the top retro candy brand, but be careful eating them while wearing any personal protective equipment. Minty breath behind a mask will make your eyes water, and then you won't be able to enjoy the film.

Other assorted snack facts

Coke products were the go-to drinks at 72%, with 45% saying the bottomless soda option is their favorite new addition to theater concession menus. Shout out to those touch-screen soda fountains that allow me to make cursed concoctions like strawberry vanilla Mr. Pibb. 55% of moviegoers said they'd like to see healthier and more vegan options available at the theater, which is a sincerely good idea. Thinking about the price hike on those options, however, is enough to give me an aneurysm.

Fandango also broke down some of the results by demographics, with 85% of comic book movie fans loving concessions compared to the 81% of general audiences. 64% of comic book movie fans want more themed snacks, compared to 61% of the general public. Comic book movie fans also inched out general audiences by 3% for the unlimited popcorn/soda options, with half of all comic book fans making the bottomless decision.

In general, 47% of moviegoers said they buy concessions even when they're late to the movies which is completely understandable, but also a blatant act of disrespect to Maria Menounos. If you're not showing up early for Noovie, are you even going to the theater?