Is it illegal to bring outside food into a movie theatre?


Is it illegal to bring outside food into a movie theatre? Illegal as in you will be arrested for it? No. Inappropriate and likely to get you ejected, yes. The reason, of course, is that theaters want you to buy their very expensive food. Most theaters do not make their money from ticket sales. They make money from selling the food and drinks. As a result, they don’t want you bringing your own food and drinks in. Further, it would be their right to order you to leave, without providing you with a refund for your tickets, if they catch you. Apparently I need to bold the word most. In my sophomore year in college, I took a business ethics class and this exact question came up. Everyone shared their 2¢, and more power to them. Ultimately, we concluded that it is neither illegal, nor unethical. If you weren’t going to buy any snack/drinks beforehand, then it is completely okay. However, what is not okay, is you leaving your wrappers and bottles behind for the cleaners to pick up after you. This creates a loss for the movie theater owners and thus makes you a thief. So as long as you are respectful and clean up after yourself, it is okay to sneak food into a theater. In the Philippines, you can load up on any food outside the theatre and bring it inside to chomp on! No problemo! Indeed, you can text your order to a local Pizza Hut, KFC, McDs and they will deliver it to you inside the theatre. It’s not unusual to see patrons inside eating full meals. Yes, the theatres have concession stands so you can get your popcorn, hotdogs and drinks too. A movie theater is not a cinema that sells popcorn and candy. It’s a popcorn and candy stand that shows movies. There is no money to be made showing movies. There is a lot of money to be made selling 30 cents worth of popcorn for $8 a bucket. They can’t have you arrested for bringing your own food. They can, and will, throw you out.The act itself is not illegal, but a movie theater is certainly within their rights to eject you without a refund for violating their rules. If you refuse to leave, then you are trespassing and that is illegal. It’s a private enterprise and you are electing to patronize the movie theater. By doing so, you are implicitly agreeing to abide by their rules. If you don’t like their rules, you don’t have to patronize the theater. I think the snack bar prices are outrageous as well.

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