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13 Things a Movie Theatre Employee Won’t Tell You

How fresh is cinema popcorn, and why are the concessions so expensive? Uncover these and other movie theatre secrets, straight from the source.

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1. No, That Isn't Natural

1. No, That Isn’t Natural

Why does it smell so good? The popcorn has chemicals in it to make its aroma fill the theatre.

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2. Better Picture? Not So Much

2. Better Picture? Not So Much

“Extreme Digital” is actually lower quality than IMAX digital. We use it because it’s easier to maintain.

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3. Why Are Concessions Overpriced?

3. Why Are Concessions Overpriced?

For the first month or two of screening, money from ticket sales goes to movie studios. Theatres rely on concession stands to make money, and popcorn costs almost nothing to make.

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4. Don't Kid Yourself

4. Don’t Kid Yourself

I know all the methods you use to sneak in. I just don’t always care enough to kick you out for it.


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5. Which Foods Will I Eat?

5. Which Foods Will I Eat?

I only trust the popcorn, drinks, and boxed candy. I wouldn’t eat the pretzels, hot dogs, or nachos.


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6. We Don't Actually Agree With You

6. We Don’t Actually Agree With You

Chances are, if you complain to the manager and he sides with you, he’s just putting on a show to calm you down. The manager might pretend to yell at me for a minute, but he’ll pat me on the back the moment you’re out of sight.


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7. That Special Deal Isn't So Special

7. That Special Deal Isn’t So Special

Combination deals don’t save you money at some theatres. You’d pay the same price if you purchased the items separately.


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8. Don't Trust Serving Sizes

8. Don’t Trust Serving Sizes

Think you’re saving calories by ordering a small popcorn? That “small” popcorn could have been a medium last month.

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9. A Little Patience, Please

9. A Little Patience, Please

Stop getting angry that your food isn’t ready. Microwaves can’t cook frozen pizzas in 30 seconds!


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10. It Seems Dumb, But...

10. It Seems Dumb, But…

No, I can’t give you extra cups. Everything is inventoried at the end of the night.


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11. Your Suspicions Are Correct

11. Your Suspicions Are Correct

Sometimes I sweep excess food under the seats. Movies often end every few minutes. Sometimes, three or more screenings end at the same time. I don’t always have time to clean everything up.

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 12. Yes, Movies Start Late

12. Yes, Movies Start Late

But they almost always end on time – otherwise, the ushers wouldn’t know when to clean up. Theatres tell you to come in early so you have time to watch commercials and previews.

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13. Don't Let Temperature Fool You

13. Don’t Let Temperature Fool You

Popcorn keeps for a day or two. Many customers confuse warm with fresh.