Autor Edward Jay Epstein schreibt auf Slate über die „Popcorn Palace Economy“ – warum Kinobetreiber in den USA es gerne sehen, wenn Filme nicht länger als 128 Minuten dauern und warum Leute, denen die Filmlampe zu dunkel ist (weil die Kinobetreiber sie aus Geldnöten nicht rechtszeitig wechseln), an den Verkaufsständen im Foyer rumlungern könnten.

This (selling popcorn and soda) is an extremely profitable operation in which the theaters do not split the proceeds with the studios (as they do with ticket sales). Popcorn, for example, because of the immense amount of popped bulk produced from a relatively small amount of kernels – the ratio is as high as 60:1 – yields more than 90 cents of profit on every dollar of popcorn sold. It also serves to make customers thirsty for sodas, another high-margin product (supplied to most theater chains by Coca-Cola, which makes lucrative deals with theater owners in return for their exclusive “pouring” of its products). One theater chain executive went so far as to describe the cup holder mounted on each seat, which allows customers to park their soda while returning to the concession stand for more popcorn, as “the most important technological innovation since sound.” He also credited the extra salt added into the buttery topping on popcorn as the “secret” to extending the popcorn-soda-popcorn cycle throughout the movie. For this type of business, theater owners don’t benefit from movies with gripping or complex plots, since that would keep potential popcorn customers in their seats. “We are really in the business of people moving,” Thomas W. Stephenson Jr., who then headed Hollywood Theaters, told me. “The more people we move past the popcorn, the more money we make.”

Epstein ist der Autor von The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood, dessen erstes Kapitel man hier lesen kann. Eine schöne Reise in die Vergangenheit. In diesem Zusammenhang empfehle ich mal wieder turnusmäßig Movie-Made America. Geht immer.