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13 Things a Movie Theater Employee Won’t Tell You

The truth about movie theater popcorn, how theaters get you to spend way too much, and other behind-the-scenes info only the people who work in theaters know about.

1 / 13

 There’s a reason the popcorn smells so good

Why does it smell so good? The popcorn has chemicals in it to make its aroma fill the theater. Try this recipe for making amazing DIY popcorn in your microwave instead.

2 / 13
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 We purposely use lower quality

“Extreme Digital” is actually lower quality than IMAX digital. We use it because it’s easier to maintain. These are the best ever movie musicals that you need to watch.

3 / 13

 Concessions make us money

For the first month or two of screening, money from ticket sales goes to movie studios. Theaters rely on concession stands to make money. That’s why concessions are overpriced. Popcorn costs almost nothing to make. (Psst – Here’s how a MoviePass can help you save money while going for your next movie!)

4 / 13

 Don’t try to sneak in

I know all the methods you use to sneak in. I just don’t always care enough to kick you out for it. Make sure you always follow this etiquette at the movie theater.

5 / 13

 Stick to classic movie snacks

The only foods I trust are the popcorn, drinks, and boxed candy. I wouldn’t eat the pretzels, hot dogs, or nachos. This is the real reason we hate scary movies.

6 / 13

 Managers try to keep things calm

Chances are, if you complain to the manager and he sides with you, he’s just putting on a show to calm you down. The manager might pretend to yell at me for a minute, but he’ll pat me on the back the moment you’re out of sight.

7 / 13
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 Do the math on combination deals

Combination deals don’t save you money at some theaters. You’d pay the same price if you purchased the items separately. Did you know that movie theaters used to ban popcorn?!

8 / 13
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 Popcorn sizes are always changing

Think you’re saving calories by ordering a small popcorn? That “small” popcorn could have been a medium last month. Try out these healthier versions of your favorite junk food.

9 / 13

 Microwave foods take a while

Stop getting angry that your food isn’t ready. Microwaves can’t cook frozen pizzas in 30 seconds!

10 / 13
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 Don’t ask for extra cups

No, I can’t give you extra cups. Everything is inventoried at the end of the night.

11 / 13

 There’s not a lot of time to clean

Your suspicions are correct. Sometimes I sweep excess food under the seats. Movies often end every few minutes. Sometimes, three or more screenings end at the same time. I don’t always have time to clean everything up.

12 / 13
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 Yes, movies start late

But they almost always end on time—otherwise, the ushers wouldn’t know when to clean up. Theaters tell you to come in early so you have time to watch commercials and previews. These are the 12 annoying things movies get wrong about real life.

13 / 13

 Just because it’s warm doesn’t mean it’s fresh

Popcorn keeps for a day or two. Many customers confuse warm with fresh. Next, check out these movie trivia facts you won’t believe are true.

Sources: Movie theater employees in California, Illinois, and Indiana

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest