Another Frivolous Lawsuit. Filmgoer Sues Over High Snack Prices In Michigan.

zbacku 2012/03/06 16:30:25
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What An Idiot.  If This Somehow Wins, There Will No Longer Be Cheap Matinee's.
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Rebecca Motley emerges from the AMC Star Southfield after seeing "Good Deeds" on Friday morning -- and paying $11 for pop and popcorn on top of the $5 ticket. "The prices are ridiculous," she said.
Rebecca Motley emerges from the AMC Star Southfield after seeing "Good Deeds" on Friday morning -- and paying $11 for pop and popcorn on top of the $5 ticket. "The prices are ridiculous," she said. / ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Press
By David Ashenfelter

Joshua Thompson loves the movies.

But he hates the prices theaters charge for concessions like pop and candy.

This week, the 20-something security technician from Livonia decided to do something about it: He filed a class action in Wayne County Circuit Court against his local AMC theater in hopes of forcing theaters statewide to dial down snack prices.

"He got tired of being taken advantage of," said Thompson's lawyer, Kerry Morgan of Wyandotte. "It's hard to justify prices that are three- and four-times higher than anywhere else."

American Multi Cinema, which operates the AMC theater in Livonia, wouldn't comment on the suit. A staffer at the National Association of Theatre Owners in Washington, D.C., angrily hung up the phone when asked about industry snack pricing practices.

Although consumer experts predicted that the case will be dismissed, it struck a chord Friday with area moviegoers, who said they're tired of being soaked on movie munchies.

"The prices are ridiculous," Rebecca Motley, 55, a self-employed Southfield physician, said while leaving the AMC Star Southfield 20.

Motley said she and her office manager spent $5 each for morning movie tickets and $11 each for soft drinks and popcorn.

"When I was a kid, $1 could get you into the movies and buy you a pop and popcorn. But not anymore," Motley said. "I don't know how kids can go on their own to a movie anymore."

Timothy Fells, 29, part owner of a Redford Township gym, agreed with Motley.

"Movie concession prices are extremely high, and that's why I don't stop at the snack bar very often," he said while leaving the AMC theater in Southfield.

Thompson didn't want to be interviewed because he doesn't want any notoriety, Morgan said. But Thompson said in his lawsuit that he used to take his own pop and candy to the AMC in Livonia until the theater posted a sign banning the practice.

On Dec. 26, he paid $8 for a Coke and a package of Goobers chocolate-covered peanuts at the Livonia theater -- nearly three times the $2.73 he paid for the same items at a nearby fast-food restaurant and drug store, the suit said.

The suit accused AMC theaters of violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by charging grossly excessive prices for snacks.

The suit seeks refunds for customers who were overcharged, a civil penalty against the theater chain and any other relief Judge Kathleen Macdonald might grant.

Two consumer lawyers predicted that Macdonald will dismiss the suit.

"It's a loser," said Gary Victor, an Eastern Michigan University business law professor. He said state Supreme Court decisions in 1999 and 2007 exempted most regulated businesses from the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

Added Ian Lyngklip, a nationally known consumer lawyer in Southfield: "Movie theaters are regulated, so the lawsuit won't go anywhere"

Victor, an avid moviegoer, agreed that snack prices are excessive at theaters. That's why he shuns the concession counter unless he's with a date.

Read More: http://www.freep.com/article/20120304/NEWS06/20304...

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  • Jbug799 2012/03/07 00:44:51
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    $5 for a ticket? Really? Hmm that is cheap!! Don't buy it! Eat before you go! Better yet, wait until it comes out on DVD then pop your own corn, buy your own pop etc etc. In our theaters the pops are free refills! You don't go to a darn movie to eat anyway!!
  • Louis Contreras 2012/03/06 22:04:05
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    Louis Contreras
    Don't buy anything.
  • Glenn Mitchell 2012/03/06 21:37:19
    What An Idiot. If This Somehow Wins, There Will No Longer Be Cheap Matinee's.
    Glenn Mitchell
    Don't buy or eat before you go.
  • lucythetooth 2012/03/06 21:35:41
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    I don't think he'll win, but the theaters are definitely price gouging. Charging $10 for a bucket of popcorn is ludicrous when I can use that same $10 to buy enough microwave popcorn to fill a bathtub. Movie theater butter flavor, even.
  • MandaLynne 2012/03/06 17:27:56
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    Don't like their prices, then don't buy their products. Eat before you go to the movie.
  • Farnsworth 2012/03/06 17:24:53
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    I agree, but no one is forced to buy it. Thats all on the customer
  • Son Of Anubis™ 2012/03/06 17:06:13
    What An Idiot. If This Somehow Wins, There Will No Longer Be Cheap Matinee's.
    Son Of Anubis™
    This guy is an idiot....although I agree it won't win and won't do anything for prices either up or down....simple and plain defense for the theatre's....."Noboy's making anyone buy food or drinks at the movie" You don't want to pay the prices....don't buy anything....could people be any more stupid?!
  • Dickens 2012/03/06 16:45:34 (edited)
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    ..here's what I do and why; I have patience, so I wait til it comes out on DVD. It costs $5.00 to rent,so a whole bunch of us can get together and see it cheap. I get $10 worth of wings and cook 'em up (way better than stale popcorn for the same $10.) We can eat way better, drink ANYTHING, smoke weed, and talk and yell if we want to. Why would I go to a theater??
  • Artist~PWCM~ 2012/03/06 16:39:57
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    We've been sneaking treats into the theaters for years now. Pop and popcorn I can do without though I do miss it. Used to be you could take a date and buy the grub all for under $10.00...now you have to take out a loan.
  • stevegtexas@aol.com 2012/03/06 16:36:19 (edited)
  • Sister Jean 2012/03/06 16:33:14
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    Sister Jean
  • Dickens Sister ... 2012/03/06 21:56:32
    ..and that one word sums it all up..

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