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By Esteves Isabelle

Most popular snacks and drinks at the movie theater

Snacking during movies is a common pastime for most Americans. At the theatre, it is almost automatic to go straight from the ticket counter to the concessions counter to buy copious amounts of popcorn, candy and soda. Sometimes, people will even grab nachos or a hot dog. Why is it that Americans associate movies with food? There are many leading theories, of course, but a few make more sense than others. Here is some information on why and what people eat at the movies.

Americans are finally returning to movie theatres. It’s been a while since people have felt comfortable enjoying indoor group activities. Watching a movie is a popular activity for families or couples to enjoy together. It’s a great way to get back to dining out and combining it with a movie. At AMC DINE-IN theatres, you can choose food from their handcrafted menu selections while watching the latest first-run films.

Movies and food are a combination that goes back to the earliest days of silent films. These days, dining has gone beyond just a bucket of popcorn and a giant soft drink. The best cinema snacks are upscale and include foods like flatbread pizza, gourmet pretzels bites, and alcoholic drink specials. At the end of the day, nothing is more nostalgic or evokes more memories than the smell of hot buttered popcorn.

Why people tend to eat and drink during movies

According to the Smithsonian Magazine’s blog, popcorn “was one of the first variations of maize cultivated in Central America.” Although it has been around for centuries, popcorn did not become popular in movie theatres until the Great Depression, when popcorn was cheap and readily available. After that, popcorn and movies became inseparable; the comfort that popcorn had provided during the Great Depression seeped into everyday life and stuck around. One of the biggest reasons popcorn and soda are so popular at the movies is because of their mobility; popcorn can easily be carried through the lobby and into the theatre. Because it is so strongly associated with the movies, people find themselves desiring the tasty treat from the smell alone. The drinks just make sense; popcorn is salty, so soda or water is needed to neutralize the saline.

Most popular snacking habits while watching movies

Popcorn is, without a doubt, the most popular snack for American moviegoers. It ties back to a level of comfort from financial depressions and world wars. It is also cheap and easy to make, so even people who watch movies at home will instinctively grab a plastic-wrapped bag of popcorn to toss in the microwave. However, other snacks are available and readily eaten at the movie theatre. Sean Morrow lists the six best movie theatre snacks in his HelloGiggles article and agrees that large soft pretzels are a popular and tasty substitute for popcorn. The third favorite of Americans is Junior Mints, a brand of candy that is sweet on the outside with a cool mint flavor on the inside.

Most popular drinks to sip during movies

Coca-Cola is traditionally the most popular soft drink at movie theatres across America. The sweet, non-alcoholic beverage counter-balances the salt in popcorn and soft pretzels. Luxury movie theatres such as Studio Movie Grill and Santikos Theaters have recently started offering alcoholic beverages such as beer and cocktails. Those are popular with the young adult audience, while children and older adults opt for soft drinks and slushies.

When it comes to bringing in the best cinema snacks for your personal tastes, it seems to be an unwritten rule that the theatres don’t allow it. This rule even extends to a bottle of water. AMC Theatres does not refer to this policy anywhere on its website, which leads to a lot of confusion. It appears that, for the most part, it depends on the employee who is working the desk when you purchase your ticket.

Regal Theatres are much more upfront and list their policy on their website in their Admittance Procedures section. They state it quite simply under Regal Admittance Policy, “No outside food or drink is permitted in the theatre.” The truth is, you are not breaking the law when you sneak food or drink into a movie theatre, but the owners reserve the right to remove any guest who violates their admittance policy.

Cinemark Theatres, the third-largest theatre chain in the U.S., does not allow food to be brought in. The exception is a birthday party where guests are allowed to bring in cupcakes or cookies but no cake. However, the word on the street is that employees are not allowed to ask patrons to open bags, so you are pretty safe bringing in something that doesn’t attract their attention with its smell.

Whatever food and drink is added to the menu at movie theatres, popcorn and Coca-Cola will always be the traditional addition to a fantastic day at the movies. From candy to beer, theatre menus are growing larger, but the foods are consumed for a simple reason: eating makes the experience even more enjoyable. After all, food and entertainment combined are one of the most comforting feelings in the world.

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