5 Ways Movie Theaters Trick People Into Spending More Money

Cinema and movie theater concept background. Empty rows of red seats with popcorn.


A fool and his money are soon parted, especially when a new Marvel movie hits theaters.

Moviegoers spend a ton of scratch to be the first person to catch the last blockbuster.

Most of the money from ticket sales goes back to the movie distribution company.

So how do movie theaters turn a profit?

Business Insider explains:

“Between ticket prices and concessions, movie theaters are expensive. But movie theater chains like AMC and Regal only keep around 50% of the revenue from ticket sales each year.

But theaters are able to keep over 80% of concessions revenue as profit. So most theaters are designed to get you to spend money on food.

And it works, AMC reports that more than 71% of attendees spend money on concessions.”

Here are just a few of the common tactics or tricks movie theaters use to make you hand over money:

  • Concession stand placement – AMC and Regal theaters are designed, so you HAVE to walk past a concession counter at least once before entering your specific theater.
  • Food is visible and in brightly lit areas – The hallways to the movies are dark. The concession area is bright as hell, saying, “COME LOOK AT MY DELICIOUSNESS!”
  • The popcorn smell is unavoidable– Come on. Popcorn smells delicious. You want it even when you don’t want it.  The aroma alone sells popcorn, which makes theaters a ton of money because it’s so cheap to make
  • Size confusion – Most theaters offer two sizes – regular and large. What the hell is regular? A large is usually just a little more money so “why not buy the large?” you ask yourself, as you hand over more money.
  • Combos – This item plus this item and now you’re buying a combo for more money and probably a bunch of food you’ll never end up eating.

And the tricks don’t stop in the lobby.

Here are some solid suggestions if you want to save some money the next time you head to the theater.

Also, avoid hitting up a buffet before or after the film. “All you can eat” restaurants are a scam too.


Chris Illuminati is a 5-time published author and recovering a**hole who writes about success, fitness, parenting and occasionally pro wrestling. Reach out to him on Instagram & Twitter or email chris@brobible.com.