Want healthier concession options at your local multiplex? You're not alone, and in fact an entire movie studio is with you on the idea. At ShoWest, the annual theater owners convention, Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton addressed the topic yesterday in his keynote address, claiming that studies show a majority of moviegoers are interested in substitutes for the regular old popcorn and candy offerings. Reportedly two-thirds of people surveyed would buy healthier concessions if available while 42% of parents would buy movie theater snacks more often if there were healthier options to give to their kids.

This isn't shocking, but really what kind of options can there be? I remember back when moviegoers were first requesting such alternatives -- this was 1995, when I worked at a multiplex that attempted to introduce pre-packaged bags of "light" popcorn. They didn't sell. Not because they weren't a good idea, but because the bags were tiny and still way overpriced. And while bottled water is now a very lucrative item for cinemas, I don't understand why more people aren't just filling their own aluminum canteens with drinking fountain water, as I do. Speaking of bringing your own alternatives, are people really going to simply stop bringing in their own cheap, specifically favored healthy options once the multiplex begins selling apple slices and carrot sticks?

I know buttered popcorn is unhealthy, but you'll never pry the bucket away from me, not even from my cold, dead hands, because it's still the only thing worth purchasing from a cinema concession stand. There's tradition to it, there's an unreplicated taste to it and there's an economic proof to it. Other than making that popcorn a little healthier (peanut oil instead of coconut or canola, or simply air-popped; real or no butter; sea salt; etc.), what kinds of options do parents really think a cinema can make available, financially or generally satisfactorily? Are people really hoping concessions stands will begin selling salads? Or bags of soy crisps?

Once again, I'm glad someone is addressing a problem without actually doing anything about it. Of course, Sony doesn't have to. All Lynton has to do is note that more people will come see its Spider-Man reboot in your theater if you have healthy concessions and theater owners, who are unfortunately slaves to Hollywood, will bust their asses and likely lose some money in their need to please. Now, what I'd really like to see happen is a studio exec tell theater owners that customers want cheaper concessions (and maybe ticket prices), and that Hollywood will work with cinemas (through fairer box office-share deals, or whatever else can be done) to make it happen.
CATEGORIES Sony, Movies, Cinematical