Update 12:06pm CT Oct. 26: When reached for comment, a spokesperson for AMC said in a statement that “AMC’s no outside food and beverage policy is enforced at every AMC location” and pointed the Daily Dot to the policy on its ”Code of Conduct,” which is both online and reportedly on display at all AMC locations.
“Outside food and drinks are not allowed,” it reads. “Leave the pouring and popping to us!”
Original story: Apparently, movie theaters can’t legally stop you from bringing in outside food, a former AMC movie theater worker claims in a now-viral TikTok video.
In the video, Torey, whose handle is @t.renns, stitches a TikTok of a user sneaking Chipotle into the movie theater via her… pants.
“Fun fact, I worked at AMC when I was 15, it was my first job, and we legally can’t stop you from bringing food into the movie theater if you just say, ‘I have to eat.’ There’s literally nothing we can do,” Torey says.
The viral video already has 733,000 views and a bunch of conflicting comments.
Some people in the comments section recounted how easy it was to sneak in food, while others said they were made to throw it away.
“I brought a big bag of Takis and hid it in my hoodie but when we were paying for the tickets it fell out LMAO bye,” Nataly Perez said.
“I’ve been told to throw my food away at AMC countless times,” !mahomes.patrick2021 wrote.
“For Endgame someone’s family brought brisket and for the first thirty minutes of the movie all I could hear was smacking,” user Micah said.
“I’m a manager at amc & I can say that this is incorrect,” another user, Brey, replied.
The general consensus among articles and blog posts is that it’s not illegal to bring in outside snacks since there’s no federal, state, or city law against that. But, AMC and other theaters are private businesses that can make their own rules. If they have an anti outside food policy then they can ask a moviegoer to throw out the food; if customers refuse, AMC can legally kick them out for breaking policy.
Movie theater chains like AMC and Regal Cinemas keep about 50% of ticket sales; the rest goes back to the movie distributors. Without concession stands, most theaters would quickly go out of business, according to a Business Insider article.
AMC reported that at least 71% of moviegoers bought something at the concessions stand. In 2018, about 30% of AMC’s total revenue came from concessions. But, unlike with tickets, the profit margin on the price-jacked popcorn is nearly 84%, reported Insider.
“Basically, if you spend $1 on food, AMC keeps $0.84. But if you spend $1 on a ticket, it keeps only $0.50. So it will do whatever it can to get you to spend more money on food,” reported Insider.
Torey did not respond to an immediate request for comment via TikTok comment.