Fandango’s Summer 2022 Movie Snacks Survey finds theater popcorn really is better

Finally, Fandango has irrefutable proof of what mankind has long suspected since the dawn of cinema: popcorn simply tastes better in the cinema. Please don’t argue, we won’t hear anything about it!

According to a new poll conducted by the ticketing website, a whopping 83 percent of moviegoers agree that the hot and salty snack, which is often served by the bucketful, repeatedly defies the usual laws of taste when served in a dark auditorium full of others film lovers is taken. 76 percent of respondents say they eat popcorn at the theater rather than at home, while 66 percent typically prefer the large and extra-large varieties.

“The summer cinema season is in full swing and it’s that time of year when fans crave these spectacular ‘popcorn movies,'” Fandango Editor-in-Chief Erik Davis said in a statement. “We call them ‘popcorn movies’ for a reason: because concessions are an integral part of the cinematic experience. Summer movies allow us to get away from it all and discover new, unforgettable adventures in our local theaters, and we’re wowing audiences with Top Gun: Maverick, and Jurassic World Dominion and more summer blockbusters are on their way, and cinemas are humming ahead Excitement on big screens and fans craving these irresistible snacks.”

Fifty-eight percent choose both popcorn and sugary confections, with nearly half mixing the candy in their popcorn. M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, Raisinets, Goobers and Milk Duds are the most popular mix-ins. There are no surprises there. Peanut M&Ms are the most popular chocolate-based candy, with Twizzlers taking the top spot without chocolate. Twizzlers are most popular in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southern United States, while Red Vines rank first in the western states. Junior Mints is considered the top “retro” brand.

When it came to “spicy” options, 53 percent said they always grab a can of nachos with the lively orange cheese, which at the same time turned out to be a bit too messy for 77 percent of respondents. Forty-seven percent admitted they still get food even if they’re late for their show.

Of course, you can’t have any of these concessions without a cool drink nearby: 72 percent of people choose a Coke (regular, diet, Coke Zero, or flavored). However, 55 percent would like a healthier selection of drinks. When it comes to new arrivals, 45 percent of moviegoers enjoy endless refills, alcoholic options and the flavored colas to choose from from the self-service vending machines in large multiplexes.

Results of the Fandango Concession Confessions Survey

Results of the Fandango Concession Confessions Survey

Results of the Fandango Concession Confessions Survey Photo: Fandango

“As a regular theatergoer, I totally agree with Fandango’s findings and would say there are a variety of reasons for that,” Lee Meltzer, VP, Entertainment at R&CPMK, told SYFY WIRE. “First, as soon as you walk into a movie theater you get that whiff of buttery goodness that instantly tingles every sense in your body and makes you crave the biggest bag/tub. Second, movie popcorn has that rich combination of butter and salt that, when done right, is absolute perfection…it satisfies that sweet and salty taste that many of us crave. Finally, and this is very important, popcorn tastes better in the cinema when it’s FRESHLY popped. A large, freshly popped popcorn with its crunchy, fluffy nature is incredibly satisfying! For my favorite meals, it’s usually a large popcorn, a water or iced tea, and if I’m looking to splurge…a bag of peanut M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces.

Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, takes a more nostalgic stance on this. “‘Let’s all go to the lobby to get some treats!’ proclaimed the classic break bumper — and with good reason. Popcorn actually tastes better in a movie theater,” he says. “As the only acceptable food noise made by other patrons during a movie, the popcorn crunch is a nostalgic reminder of our formative ones Years ago, a tub of popcorn, candy and a cold fountain drink were an integral part of the cinema experience. And now we have the numbers to prove what everyone already knew!”

The survey also found that action and adventure genres are more likely to drive concession buying, followed by comedy, sci-fi and fantasy. Of 6,000 moviegoers surveyed, 83 percent confirmed they would see three or more films on the big screen this summer.

Looking for an excuse to fuel up on your favorite movie theater snacks this summer? Universal Pictures has you covered with a trio of blockbuster releases: Colin Trevorrows Jurassic World Dominion (June 10), Scott Derricksons The black phone (June 24) and Jordan Peeles nope (22nd of July).

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