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Movie Theater Snack Scam: Can We Take on Theaters For Ripping Us Off?

Finally, one man is going up against corporate theaters for excessive concession stand mark-up.

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That is, until now, when ticket and concessions prices have inflated despite the increasingly tight budgets of American citizens. By’s estimation in 2007, theater prices had risen by a third since 2000. In 2012, empirical wisdom shows that they’ve increased since then. America’s pastime has become too pricey for Americans to participate.

Beyond consumer dissatisfaction, the upset over prices speaks to the downloading movement, as well. The Motion Picture Association of America was one of the major supporters of SOPA-PIPA, the anti-Internet, "anti-piracy" bill, but there's a reason normally law-abiding citizens will download leaked movies rather than pay to see them at the theater: ticket prices are inexplicably high—as much as $13 or $14 per seat in metropolitan places like New York—and when you cap on concession prices and the economy, downloading could almost seem like an act of spite.

Joshua Thompson’s lawsuit against AMC remains local, but AMC is a major chain, and his case could hit a nerve with practically anyone, so it’s been slowly been garnering mainstream coverage, from ABC News to the Daily Mail. Perhaps it’s the movie fans in us, but we hope he turns out to be a sort of cultural Erin Brockovich... we could see this as the spearhead of a movement against price-gouging for entertainment Americans frankly see as a fundamental right—an industry we have collectively supported since 1856, and hope to continue to do so. At the very least, they could let us bring in our own Twizzlers without feeling like criminals!

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.

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