I went to a movie theater out in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, and for the first time in my life — because, presumably, it’s state-mandated there — I saw the caloric information for the concession items. I was flabbergasted. This must be why a lot of movie critics are overweight. I honestly had no idea. I mean: I knew it wasn’t good. But … this?
I don’t often purchase non-beverage concessions, in part because I usually eat before attending screenings. But if you’ve ever wondered why, after leaving a movie theater, you feel strangely full yet still hungry, it’s because of the massive amount of empty calories in their food. If you’re the kind of person who thinks: Hey! I’ll get some popcorn instead of buying a hot dog, that’s gotta be better for me, right? Think again. You can buy nearly five hot dogs, and get around the same caloric intake from one large popcorn (and at least you get some protein in that deal). A popcorn/nacho/soda combo: Over 3,000 calories! That’s more than a day’s worth of calories. You can eat nearly three Bic Macs (at around 575 calories each) for what you get in a large popcorn, or two Big Macs for what you get in Nachos. Worse: Movie theater popcorn has around six times the saturated fat as a Big Mac. And Reese’s Pieces? Fuck you, E.T.
I’d like to see Morgan Spurlock survive on movie concessions for 30 days.
Below is the calorie information (estimated, and it varies by theater) for the most popular concession items, and I include the pizzas and chicken fingers that many theaters serve, if only because I’d have never thought to purchase those over popcorn if I were trying to limit my caloric intake. Go ahead: Buy two of those personal sized pizzas. It’s still better than a large popcorn.
Large Popcorn (with Butter): 1500 calories
Large Popcorn (without Butter): 1200 calories
Reese’s Pieces: 1200 Calories
Nachos (with cheese): 1100 calories
Cinna-pretzel: 754 Calories
M&Ms/Skittles: 750 Calories
Individual Sized Pizzas: 640 Calories
Twizzlers: 600 Calories
Four Chicken Fingers: 560
Pretzel: 483 Calories
Large Soda: 353 Calories
Hot Dog: 305 Calories
Icees: 300 Calories