To celebrate Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘s commencement of the summer box office season, AMC Theatres issued a list of fun forecasts about its concession sales — stats that would make former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg cringe after he attempted to rally a big-drink ban three years ago. Of note, AMC moviegoers across the nation are expected to consume 1 billion ounces of Coca-Cola products this summer.
Concessions are a serious business for AMC: Last year, food and beverage annual revenue hit the $1 billion mark for the first time in the chain’s history, up 12% from 2015 and 28% from 2014. While we often think that a downer summer at the box office like 2014’s (-15% from 2013 at $4.06B) impacts business, as long as concession sales soar for theater owners, they’re over the moon.
Food and drink as the lifeblood of the movie biz is something former Warner Bros distribution czar Dan Fellman schooled Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan in: When Batman Begins posted a flatter Saturday than expected during its opening weekend in 2005, Fellman told Nolan that exhibitors were upset because audiences weren’t buying popcorn. “The idea that people paying for concessions and popcorn were part of the whole equation as to whether they’d take in the movie — that was revelatory,” Nolan said at Fellman’s fete nearly two years ago.
In addition to the flood of Coca-Cola drinks at AMC from the Freestyle 120-flavor machine, the theater chain expects to sell so many hot dogs that they could cover the 250-mile distance from Hollywood to the Hoover Dam. How about popcorn sales? AMC expects ticket buyers to gobble down 8 million pounds before Labor Day including gourmet options.
At 240 AMC locations, those over 21 can order a movie-themed alcoholic drink. How about a “Banana Hammock” during Baywatch‘s opening week (May 25), which is a mix of Blue Chair Bay banana rum, pineapple juice and Sprite topped off with an orange wedge and cherry? Or “The Gauntlet,” which debuts during Wonder Woman‘s opening week? There’s also a “Party Ball” cup inspired by the Scarlett Johansson-Kate McKinnon comedy Rough Night (June 16).
In total, starting with the Guardians of the Galaxy double feature on Thursday, AMC says it will program 350K hours of movies during the summer across its chain, which also touts the most Imax locations in North American and more than 70 Dolby Cinema auditoriums.