If you are a movie lover, you probably know the feeling of paying a hefty amount for a small tub of popcorn or a bottle of water at the cinema. You might wonder why movie theater snacks are so expensive in India, and whether there is any way to avoid this rip-off. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the high prices of movie theater snacks, and some tips to save money on your next movie outing.
List of Snacks & Price in Theater
|Snack||Average Price (Rs.)||Source|
|Popcorn (medium)||220||PVR Cinemas|
|Nachos (medium)||200||Economic Times|
|Samosa (two pieces)||75||Economic Times|
|Soft drink (medium)||150||PVR Cinemas|
|Water (500 ml)||50||PVR Cinemas|
The prices may vary depending on the cinema chain, location, and time of the day. Some cinemas may offer discounts or offers on F&B items if you book tickets online or use their loyalty programs or mobile apps. You can also look for coupons or vouchers from third-party platforms such as Paytm, BookMyShow, or Nearbuy.
Why Snacks are Costly in Movie Theaters? (3 Main Reasons)
Major Source of Revenue
One of the main reasons why movie theater snacks are so expensive in India is that they are a major source of revenue for the cinema owners. According to a report by KPMG, the average ticket price in India is Rs. 200, out of which the cinema owners have to share 50% with the distributors and producers. This means that the net revenue from ticket sales is only Rs. 100 per person. On the other hand, the average spending on food and beverages (F&B) per person is Rs. 75, out of which the cinema owners get to keep 85%. This means that the net revenue from F&B sales is Rs. 64 per person, which is almost two-thirds of the net revenue from ticket sales.
Therefore, cinema owners rely heavily on F&B sales to make profits and cover their operational costs, such as rent, electricity, staff salaries, taxes, and maintenance. According to PVR Cinemas, India’s largest multiplex chain, F&B sales account for 28% of their total revenue. This is why they charge exorbitant prices for snacks and drinks, and also impose strict rules on bringing outside food and beverages into the theaters.
High Margins and Low Competition
Another reason why movie theater snacks are so expensive in India is that they have high margins and low competition. The cost of producing popcorn, nachos, samosas, or soft drinks is very low compared to the price they are sold at. For example, a medium popcorn at PVR Cinemas costs Rs. 220, while the cost of raw materials is only Rs. 10. This means that the margin on popcorn is a whopping 2100%. Similarly, a bottle of water costs Rs. 50, while the cost of production is only Rs. 2. This means that the margin on water is 2400%.
These high margins are possible because moviegoers have no other choice but to buy from the cinema’s concession stand if they want to enjoy snacks during the movie. There is no competition from other vendors or outlets within or near the theater premises. Moreover, moviegoers are often influenced by psychological factors such as hunger, thirst, boredom, peer pressure, or impulse buying, which make them more willing to pay high prices for snacks.
Subject to High Taxes and Royalties
A third reason why movie theater snacks are so expensive in India is that they are subject to high taxes and royalties. According to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime introduced in 2017, movie tickets are taxed at 18% or 28%, depending on whether they are priced below or above Rs. 100. However, F&B items sold at cinemas are taxed at a uniform rate of 18%, regardless of their price. This means that a Rs. 50 bottle of water attracts the same tax rate as a Rs. 200 ticket.
In addition to GST, cinema owners also have to pay royalties to various entities such as state governments, local bodies, police departments, fire departments, and entertainment tax authorities. These royalties vary from state to state and can range from 10% to 40% of the gross revenue. These taxes and royalties add up to the cost of movie theater snacks and make them more expensive for consumers.
How to Save Money on Movie Theater Snacks in India
If you are looking for ways to save money on movie theater snacks in India, here are some tips you can follow:
- Plan ahead and eat before or after the movie. This will reduce your hunger and thirst during the movie and make you less tempted to buy snacks.
- Carry your own water bottle or refillable cup. Some cinemas allow you to bring your own water bottle or cup and fill it at their water dispensers for free or for a nominal charge.
- Look for discounts and offers. Some cinemas offer discounts or offers on F&B items if you book tickets online or use their loyalty programs or mobile apps. You can also look for coupons or vouchers from third-party platforms such as Paytm, BookMyShow, or Nearbuy.
- Share your snacks with your friends or family. Instead of buying individual portions of popcorn, nachos, or samosas, you can buy larger sizes and share them with your companions. This will reduce the per-person cost and also prevent wastage.
- Avoid peak hours and days. Some cinemas charge higher prices for snacks during peak hours or days, such as weekends, holidays, or festivals. You can avoid these times and opt for off-peak hours or days, such as weekdays, mornings, or late nights, when the prices may be lower.
Movie theater snacks are so expensive in India because they are a major source of revenue for cinema owners, who have high margins and low competition on F&B items. They also have to pay high taxes and royalties on their sales, which add to the cost of snacks. However, moviegoers can save money on movie theater snacks by planning ahead, carrying their own water bottle or cup, looking for discounts and offers, sharing their snacks with others, and avoiding peak hours and days. By following these tips, you can enjoy your movie without burning a hole in your pocket.
- Q: What is the average price of movie theater snacks in India?
- A: The average price of movie theater snacks in India varies depending on the cinema chain, location, and type of snack. However, according to a report by Economic Times, some of the common prices are:
- Popcorn: Rs. 150 to Rs. 300 for a medium tub
- Nachos: Rs. 150 to Rs. 250 for a medium tray
- Samosas: Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 for two pieces
- Soft drinks: Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 for a medium cup
- Water: Rs. 50 for a 500 ml bottle
- Q: Why are movie tickets cheaper than movie theater snacks in India?
- A: Movie tickets are cheaper than movie theater snacks in India because cinema owners have to share a large portion of their ticket revenue with the distributors and producers of the films. They also have to compete with other cinemas and online platforms for attracting customers. Therefore, they keep the ticket prices low and make up for their profits by charging high prices for snacks, which have high margins and low competition.
- Q: Are moviegoers allowed to bring outside food and beverages into cinemas in India?
- A: Moviegoers are generally not allowed to bring outside food and beverages into cinemas in India, as most cinemas have strict rules against it. They also have security checks at the entrance to prevent customers from carrying any outside items. However, some cinemas may allow customers to bring certain items such as water bottles, fruits, or dry snacks, depending on their discretion and policy. Customers should check with the cinema staff before bringing any outside food or beverages into the theater.