Price of a small coke

The anonymous submitter asks: “Although virtually all of the movie theaters have been shut down because of Covid-19, I would be interested to know what a “small coke” currently costs in an American theater (or, for that matter, in any fast food restaurant). I’m betting that Breathed’s presumably wildly inflated $6 (in 1986) won’t sound all that inflated now.”

79 Comments

  1. Rant.

    Let me be the voice of unreason here, as the last time I was in an actual movie theatre was ‘Aladdin in 1992’: I don’t go to a restaurant to watch a movie, so WHY would I go to a movie theatrre to eat a snack or, even worse, an entire meal??

    Just as I don’t go to a restaurant to fly anywhere, WHY would I complain about airplane food, or the lack thereof?

    Show the darn movie, fly the darn plane. If I want a good dining experience, I’ll go to a restaurant, where I can concentrate on the food, not absently stuff it into my mouth whilst my attention is directed elsewhere.

    End of Rant.

  2. Speaking of inappropriate times to eat: Hey, you’re here to watch for the Loch Ness monster, not to have dinner from a cart . . .
    https://safr.kingfeatures.com/api/img.php?e=png&s=c&file=Qml6YXJyby8yMDIwLzEwL0JpemFycm9fcC4yMDIwMTAyOF82NTcucG5n

    (Altho, I could see why she’d have to eat, as the monster is fictional and she’s gonna be there for a loooooooong time. This reminds me of Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler in Prachett novels.)

    PS. Does anyone know how to have the comics for Comics Kingdom appear, rather than a link? I know that GoComics works with ‘.gif’ added, but Comics Kingdom . . . ?

  3. Unfortunately Studio Movie Grill just filed for bankruptcy.
    Regarding soda prices, there’s not really a “small” anymore at theaters. AMC is currently promoting their $5 specials, their “PLEASE SAVE US FROM DESTITUTION AND OVERPAY AS A NONDEDUCTIBLE TAX DONATION” specials.
    Restaurants are another thing, both fast food and fancy. We normally take the tap water still, but depending on the place, $1-$4

  4. Andrea, in your 6:40 AM comment (I know, that wasn’t your time in FL), the problem with the URL for the Bizarro isn’t with the suffix, it’s deeper than that. The Comics Kingdom URL has question mark, equal sign, and ampersands — it’s a lookup for their server to execute, not a direct link.

    The Seattle PI is a good alternative place to get Bizarro, if what you want is not the link but to save to your hard drive — they don’t make it as hard to do as Kingdom sometimes does. But their links are simply the same ones to the Comics Kingdom server, and no better for embedding.

    In this case, it turned out that Arca Max had a more useful URL for embedding. Their link for this Bizarro was ” https://www.arcamax.com/newspics/192/19279/1927944.gif ” which I will also paste below and hope it embeds.

  5. That is good news . . . I’ll switch to ArcaMax for that and whichever others I get from Comics Kingdom ArcaMax might have, as I manage a politics/comics list and would rather post to the graphic more directly and with a shorter URL.

    Thanks for the tip!

  6. Thanks, Arthur, but a lot can (and does) happen to prices in three years.
    P.S. Theaters are still open here in Germany, but that may change as of Monday (Nov. 4th). The situation in the US is too complicated for me to hunt down from here. Has anyone over there been in a movie theater this year? (Bonus points if you bought a small drink and can remember the price.)

  7. Mitch4: Also, I’ve notice that Comics Kingdom lately won’t load up if I have more than two windows open/loading. So this will solve that issue, too.

  8. My wife and I went to a theater in the US about a month and a half ago because Empire Strikes Back was reissued for its 40th anniversary and I missed seeing the late 90s reissue (and we did badly miss going to the theater). We were willing to go because we figured there would not be many others in the theater… and we were right, we were the only two souls in the room.

    We split a large soda, which cost about $5.50 as I recall. The small drinks are priced pretty close to the large ones (less than $2 difference) as I remember, I guess to encourage folks to buy the large sizes.

  9. “Has anyone over there been in a movie theater this year?”

    Hubby, who usually goes to the movie theatre weekly, hasn’t been since January 2020. [He buys candy, if he thinks of it or even cares, at the Dollar Store and brings it in. No drink; that only means he’ll have to get up to go to the bathroom, miss part of the movie, and disturb those around him.]

    His AMC app is showing showtimes, so that theatre chain is open here in FL; don’t know what the protocols are, and he isn’t about to go there to find out.

  10. billytheskink – Most of the cost of the drink to the theater is the cup, believe it or not. At least it used to be that way. Yes, they are encouraging buying larger sizes because the marginal price to the theater is extremely small. The price difference is almost all profit.

  11. Last time I saw a movie in a theatre was March, 2012 (JOHN CARTER); last time I bought popcorn or anything else to eat at a movie theatre was probably twenty or more years ago; last time I bought a soda or anything else to drink at a a movie theatre was possibly never. (Or at best fifty or so years ago when I may have done so on a date, though I have no specific memories of doing so.) I almost never buy soda at fast food places either.

    For that matter, I don’t even buy all that much food and drink when attending the state fair, though that seems to be the main reason for going at all for many attendees.

  12. In Jersey City, there is an old Loews Theater that is being lovingly refurbished by volunteers; it is done enough that they open to the public, they have the main seating gallery done, and the organ rises up out of the floor again and they have someone play it before the screening, and they charge $1 for a bag of popcorn.
    Last time I went (couple years ago) they were doing a King Kong triple play; we went for the classic ’33 version, of course, and before they started they made an announcement about the dilemma they had: the restored version was only available digitally, and while they have a digital projector, they would really rather show the 35mm print; when they announced that they decided to go with the print rather than the digital restoration, there was wild spontaneous applause. I think they then said that they’d figured out how to mix the two, so when the missing footage that was only available in the digital remaster came, they would switch to that only for that part.

    I’m sure Bill would have known all about this.

    https://loewsjersey.org/

  13. The last time I went to a movie theater was a few years ago. It was a local documentary. I’m not sure when the previous time was.

  14. The problem I have with ArcaMax is that I’ve never figured out a way to go to a specific date. There doesn’t seem to be a calendar, just forward and back arrows. The number in the URL isn’t something I could decode.

  15. Well, I made a free account, and subscribed to a comic and a newsletter (“Ask a vet”). But I don’t see a calendar in the comics archives, nor do I see anything trying to sell me a paid subscription. Do they even have those?

  16. I saw a ‘subscribe’ button and assumed that it was a paid one, like the ‘premium’ comics from GoComics has. I could be wrong . . . usually assumptions . . . well, you know the saying about those.

  17. Last time I went to a movie was The Matrix, and that was at a second-run theater. I just can’t see spending that kind of money for … well, movies.

  18. mitch4: I always liked that joke, but I could have sworn Homer said it on The Simpsons. Except maybe as “you make an ass out of Ume.”

    I can’t find any evidence of that as a Simpsons quote, though, and I’ve never seen “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” so I’m baffled where I heard it.

  19. There was a time when movie theaters that originally had a single screen were subdividing (sometimes repeatedly) and there seemed no end in sight. But based on the last time I went to a movie (last year, I think?), it seems that the number 3000 would now more likely refer to the number of speakers (or the square footage of the screens).

    I did once sit in a hot tub at a movie theater but it was a one-time attraction for a showing of Back to the Beach at a theater that more often did live events.

  20. Arthur: “But movie theaters now make almost all of their profits from food sales.”

    The fact that they have a stupid business model is not MY problem.

  21. I have no clue about cinema soda prices, sorry.

    A chain cinema reality check:

    DVD is free from the library. Even a purchased used one is often no more than the price of 2 tickets.
    No bloody previews, thanks to quick DVD ripping. Sidebar: the center of the earth is too cool a place for the media conglomerate exec who thought of unskippable previews on DVDs.
    No stupefying sound levels, so no earplugs.
    Snacks and drinks (should we want any) cost grocery store prices.
    Good coffee, tea, and/or wine, not just soda.
    Breaks when we need them, because Melpemone in her majesty graciously gave us the Pause Button.

    So why would I go to a chain cinema to see a film?

    Local and regional theatres are another matter. There in most cases the admission price is reasonable, the previews are reasonable (if even existent), the volume is reasonable, and even the snacks are somewhat reasonable, should we care to partake.

    But chain cinemas? I can’t imagine why they even still exist.

  22. The reason that movie theaters are dependent on concession sales has nothing to do with free will, it has been inflicted upon them by the conditions in the contracts that they have to sign with the production companies, who reserve the bulk of the ticket prices for themselves, leaving only a starvation pittance for the theaters. The same strategy is used by oil companies, which is why virtually every gas station has been turned into an overpriced mini supermarket.

  23. Wow, for a bunch of people who never go to movie theaters you sure like to complain about them.

    This thread is painful to read.

  24. Powers: Wouldn’t it be more surprising if they didn’t like them and went to them anyway?

  25. Le Vieux Lapin – I have discovered that, although previews may be unskippable, they are not immune to the fast forward button. Kick it up to 8x fast forward and they are over in no time.

    As for theaters. When we lived in Pasadena, it was not uncommon to drop $50.00 for two tickets, a large popcorn, and soda-pop. Here, (Until last April, at least) we could get two tickets, a large popcorn and pop for about $23.00, ($4.50 of that being the large drink.) Unfortunately, when they closed for the pandemic, they closed permanently. The next closest theater is 150 miles away over open ocean.

  26. I think I recall the “assume” joke (make an ass out of U and me) on an episode of The Benny Hill Show, decades ago.

    Now, what happens when you PRESUME?

    😛

  27. I wonder if it means anything that there is no “i” in “team” but there is “u” in “group”.

  28. @Grawlix, yes, the classic version of that bit works off of “when you assume”. But the joke is when, intentionally or accidentally, someone says instead “when you make an assumption” and then are going to get stuck because the breakdown of assume into ass and u and me no longer works, and trying the similar breakdown of assumption you are left holding mption.

    (Not that the classic version of the remark truly works. There is no “make an ass” really — it remains making assume out of the three parts.)

    In Winter’s XKCD cartoon, the departure from the classic form is intentional (at least on one side). In the movie quote I posted, it was definitely accidental — to begin with. Now, it’s been a long time since I saw that movie, and my memory may have exaggerated how neat the little bit was executed — but my recollection is he started out to draw that little lesson in classic form, but assumption came out instead of assume — and he hesitated for a moment, but didn’t back up and try to correct it — instead just committed to just bulling ahead and went with mption when the time came.

  29. Used to be DVD player manufacturers, especially the el cheapo non big name brand ones, would sneak in a way around the restrictions the DVD consortium forced on them, like the non-skipable previews and FBI warnings and other crap. You could tap stop-stop-play on the remote, and it would automatically jump to the start of the longest video, usually the main feature. So then newer DVDs were programmed specifically to preempt that, so then the newer players put in stop-stop-stop-play…

    I confirmed those hacks worked on DVD players I had, but the problem with those no-name el cheapo players is that they don’t last long, and so I don’t even have a working DVD player at the moment outside my computer, so I don’t know if those hacks still work, but it’s worth it to give it a try, or to look up your specific brand of DVD player and see if there are any known hacks for it…

  30. I had a DVD player where you could put in codes for “languages” but one of them would turn it Region-free! And I did get a few DVDs from Amazon.uk in Region 2. (Also in PAL, but that was a different settings workaround.)

  31. Brian, do you mean the original form of the homily, or the joke with mption? I just think The Odd Couple was too long ago for the joke to work, it depends on everybody knowing to expect the original would-be-folksy admonition.

  32. @ Mitch4 – According to the collective “wisdom” of the Internet, the original phrase has been around for an extremely long time, because it was (supposedly) originally penned by Oscar Wilde, who died 120 years ago. I found plenty of such assertions, but none of them included an actual reference to the work in which it was written.
    P.S. @ Brian in StL – Jerry Belson has been credited for using the phrase in the “Odd Couple” episode, but he reportedly “heard it used years ago by a teacher in a typewriter repair class“.

  33. Oddly enough, ArcaMax does NOT run a colorized ‘MUTTS”, so I’ve gone back to GoComics for that. The others I changed over – ‘Baby Blues’, ‘Bizarro’, ‘Mother Goose & Grimm’ and ‘Zits’ – run colorized; ‘On the Fastrack’ isn’t available on ArcaMax.

  34. Wikipedia says that “assume = ass of u and me” was used in an Odd Couple episode in 1973. It also says that the writer, Jerry Belson, says that he had heard it years before from someone else.

  35. The first time I heard the phrase was around 1973 when I was working in a pool hall, and all of the door to door insurance salesmen would spend their mornings playing nine ball. The fellow wasn’t dead serious when he used it, but you could tell he had picked it up at some marketing/motivational meeting.

  36. I once remarked somewhere that I would of course be willing to pay a bit more for a DVD which had NO special features, just so I wouldn’t feel semi-obligated to waste a bit more of my life interacting with them. (But since I’m also on record as being willing to buy DVDs to have them looking pretty on the shelf, but not watching them, because I’d rather use the timerequired to read another book instead, I don’t think I converted any video addicts to my views.)

  37. Brian, do you mean the original form of the homily

    As noted, the original. That was first I recall hearing it.

  38. I didn’t intend to imply that the TV show was the origin of it, just that it was new to me.

  39. I like the DVD extras. It does extend your viewing time quite a bit if you go through a second time with commentary. I’ve found with comments that the more people they have in the session, the worse the results. You get, “This was directed by XYZ.” Then a bunch of people swap their stories of working with XYZ while interesting stuff is going on in the show.

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