Price of popcorn marked up by 700%

Popcorn lovers are being forced to shell out for the pleasure of eating their favourite movie snack, with cinema chains charging a mark-up of 700%.

Price of popcorn marked up by 700%

According to research by RTÉ’s The Consumer Show, the average price of a small popcorn is €4.19 across the 37 cinemas controlled by Ireland’s big six cinema chains.

Although portion sizes vary, the show quoted industry sources who said the standard 2oz small portion costs 50c to produce — amounting to a mark-up of around 700%.

The Consumer Show did its own survey of prices in cinemas and identified Ireland’s top five cheapest and most expensive movie nights out.

Based on a criteria of a full adult-priced ticket, a small popcorn, and a small drink, the most expensive night out was at Vue in Dublin’s Liffey Valley which costs €20.65, though its portion sizes are bigger than others.

The runners-up were Cineworld at €19.80, Odeon at €18.36, and the Movies@ chain at €18.10.

Independent cinemas were found to be cheapest, with The Park Cinema in Clonakilty, Co Cork, topping the value-for-money scale with a ticket, small popcorn, and drink costing just €10.90. The show noted, however, that its small drink is smaller than average.

The runners-up were Bantry Cinemax in Cork at €11.25, Empire Movieplex in Ennis, Co Clare, at €12.10, and the Lifford Cineplex in Donegal at €12.10 — although it was noted that this cinema’s popcorn is particularly small.

The Consumer Show contacted Ireland’s six largest cinema chains to ask them about their prices but none were willing to be interviewed.

Odeon pointed out in a statement that it offered “a fantastic all-round cinema experience including great value combo deal”.

Cineworld said it was “competitively priced” and offered “great value compared to other leisure activities”.

IMC Cinemas, Omniplex, Vue, and the Movies@ chains declined to comment to the show.

Speaking to The Consumer Show, Andrew Lowe, the director of Dublin’s arthouse cinema The Lighthouse, said multiplex cinemas made their profits on the retail side of the movie experience.

“The way the business works, particularly for multiplex cinemas where you’re dealing with newly released Hollywood movies, is that the lion’s share of the revenue will go to the movie distributor… The rule of thumb is that you break even in the ‘bums on seats’ side of the business and you make your profit on the retail side,” he said.

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