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Popcorn Wars: Cinemark CEO Disses AMC’s New Snacking Venture

Cinemark Theatres
Dan Keck (CC-BY-SA 1.0)

After AMC made headlines on Thursday announcing that the theater chain will be selling its own microwavable popcorn at retail locations beginning in 2022, Mark Zoradi, CEO of Cinemark, threw a large tub of ice water on the development.

“I don’t think it is necessarily a gamechanger for anyone, because popcorn is very important to all of us,” Zoradi told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. He reminded folks that Cinemark has been selling its own version of packaged microwaveable popcorn at it locations for four years already. Demand for such doesn’t exactly seem like it’s a revolutionary new profit source.

Zoradi reinforced the fact that the most crucial part of the profit equation for exhibitors is a “great cinematic experience” for guests, continuing to drive strong ticket sales.

“Popcorn and concessions [are] a big part of that,” he said. “But, the movie drives them back in the first place.”

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Theaters are slowly but surely beginning to rebound from the pandemic. October saw the highest ticket sales of the year so far, $637.9 million. A handful of tentpole and horror flicks for Halloween led the way, including “No Time to Die,” “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” “Halloween Kills” and “Dune.”

There are rosy skies ahead, too. A number of highly awaited films are due to be released before the end of the year in what looks like a far more normal winter release slate. Such films include “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “West Side Story,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Matrix Resurrections.”