AMC Will Start Selling Its Popcorn Outside of Theaters
Recently, AMC has faced more twists and turns than a suspense thriller. For years, skeptics have wondered whether technology like home theater systems and streaming services would undermine the entire cinema industry. And yet, movie theaters widely prevailed... that is, until the COVID-19 pandemic. Shuttered theaters sunk AMC's value to an all-time low… that is, until online investors turned the company into a meme stock, propelling shares to a record high. It may have been a smart investment: As life has crept back toward normal, theatergoers have returned. Over Labor Day weekend, for the first time, AMC attendance topped pre-pandemic levels.
But with everything that's happened, AMC must have realized that, at the very least, the future is uncertain, so America's largest theater company is pushing into new territory to help diversify their business: popcorn.
Late last week, AMC announced they will be "expanding its business outside of the traditional theatrical exhibition industry with plans to capture a piece of the growing multi-billion dollar popcorn market." After more than a century selling its AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn strictly to moviegoers, fans will now be able to buy AMC popcorn outside of theaters and to take home.
Specifically, AMC says they'll be selling their popcorn in four new ways: First, AMC will be setting up mall shops and kiosks around the country where people can buy freshly-popped popcorn and other theater treats. Second, AMC plans to start selling popcorn from its theaters through delivery services. Third, AMC theaters will sell their popcorn in to-go packages for takeout and pickup. Finally, AMC says they plan to sell prepackaged and ready-to-pop microwaveable AMC popcorn in supermarkets and convenience stores.
"The announcement that AMC will become a competitor in the multi-billion popcorn market is so natural and logical, one wonders why the idea has not been tried before," Adam Aron, AMC's chairman of the board and CEO, stated. "Needless to say, AMC knows popcorn ever so well. On our busiest days, AMC Theatres currently pops in the range of 50 tons of popcorn per day." The company says they are already the largest freshly-popped popcorn provider in the United States.
But will people really want to buy AMC popcorn in the mall like some sort of popcorn Auntie Anne's? We're about to find out: Up to five AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn "stores, counters and/or kiosks" are planned for the first half of 2022, likely in places without an AMC theater. By the end of the next year, they hope to have up to 15 stores, with "significantly more" locations planned after that.
Beyond a mix of freshly made traditional and gourmet-flavored popcorn, these mall stores will also sell candy and other movie theater treats, Coca-Cola Freestyle soft drink options, and bottled water. Plus, since the popcorn is popped on-site, customers will also be able to enjoy that movie theater popcorn smell without even seeing a film.
Frankly, I'm on board for that — as long as we don't have to deal with those movie theater sticky floors.