Jerusalem - Israel May Curb The High Price of Popcorn and Soft Drinks
Jerusalem - It is the source of angst for cinemagoers worldwide – why is the price of popcorn so high? Now an Israeli politician is threatening to introduce legislation that would ban cinemas in the country from overcharging for snacks and soft drinks.
Carmel Shama of the governing Likud party will attempt to introduce the measure when Israeli MPs return from their Passover break next week. He claims to have cross-party support for the move, which is fiercely opposed by cinema chains and other public entertainment venues where it would apply, such as sports stadiums and concert venues.
“We have to put an end to this. The public should not have to mortgage their houses for a soft drink and a snack,” Shama tells today’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
A large box of popcorn costs about $5 in Israeli cinemas, more than double what it would be in a supermarket and 10 times what it would cost to make at home. Yet Yaacov Cohen, owner of one of Israel’s largest chains, said cinema owners made virtually no profit from ticket sales and would struggle to survive if food sales were limited. “It would destroy the entire industry,” he told Yediot.
Two years ago, researchers from Stanford and the University of California in Santa Cruz found that members of the public were not being ripped off over the cost of popcorn and other confectionery – because profits were used to subsidise cinema tickets. While they accounted for only about 20% of gross revenues, food and drink sales represented some 40% of cinema profits, the researchers found. This was because 100% of proceeds went straight into an exhibitor’s coffers, while ticket revenues were shared with movie distributors.
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