Popcorn is, without a doubt, the world’s most widely available snack to nibble on when catching a movie on the big screen. You can find it almost anywhere in the world because it’s easy to eat, doesn’t make too much noise, can be flavoured a variety of ways, and has quite a low cost…but just how low is that cost around the world? Let’s find out.

After compiling a list of movie food menus from some of the largest cinema chains in the world such as AMC (USA), Regal (USA), Hoyts (AUS), and Vue (UK), we thought it’d be interesting to expand our reach and find out how much our favorite snack costs in other parts of the world.

Popcorn Prices Around the World

CountryLarge Popcorn$USD (Mar 2019)
Japan ¥500$4.50
United Kingdom£6.00$7.95
United States $8.79 $8.79
Australia$10.00$7.10
Canada$6.50$4.90
China¥30$4.50
India₹300$4.40
Russia ₽260$3.90
BrazilR$15$4.05
Mexico$50$2.60
South AfricaR35$2.45

Americans – sorry to say, but you’re paying the most for the popped goodness on average. Although, the currency markets have been a bit haywire over the past year with many currencies losing out to the USD (meaning their popcorn prices are lower when converted into USD).

To combat currency fluctuations, let’s take a different approach to comparing the price of popcorn. Instead, let’s see which country’s paying the most as a percentage of their national median wage.

Popcorn Prices as a % of Median Wage

CountryLarge PopcornMedian Weekly WagePopcorn Price as %
Japan*¥500¥3683330.136%
United Kingdom£6.00£2390
0.251%
United States $8.79 $3292
0.267%
Australia $10.00$54650.183%
Canada$6.50$28000.232%
China¥30¥15311.960%
India₹300₹3644
8.232%
Russia₽260₽353210.736%
BrazilR$15R75000.200%
Mexico$50$43291.155%
South AfricaR35R106800.328%

*The average wage was used for Japan as we were unable to find a reliable source for the median.

Oh, how the popcorn tides have turned.

India has it the worst, by far. You’d have to be willing to split with nearly 10% of your weekly wage for movie popcorn. Seems like popcorn’s reserved for the ultra-rich over there.

For comparison sake, let’s say your wage was $1,000 USD in the US. If popcorn was priced relatively similar to India, that’d be nearly $100 for a large popcorn. Crazy.

Unsurprisingly, when we bring the median wage into the mix, Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, have their popcorn priced quite similarly – costing about 0.20% of a median wage.

It’s interesting to note, however, that many of the non-western countries prefer local snacks to popcorn at the movies.

Here’s what you’ll find most people eating in front of the big screens:

China Dried Salted Plums

India Samosas

Japan Iwashi Senbei (dried Sardines)

Mexico Tostilocos

But Why?

Sure, popcorn in the states might be priced relatively cheap compared to other countries, but that doesn’t mean it actually is. Time and time again we see questions such as Why Does Theater Popcorn Cost So Much? and Why is food so expensive in theaters? We were going to give it our best shot in answering it here for you, but we’re lazy and plenty of others have done it already.

One of the best (and most in-depth) explanations we found was from one of our favorite Youtube channels, Today I Found Out. So today, you’re going to find out why movie theater concessions are as expensive as they are.

Thoughts? Questions? There’s a comment box waiting for you down below.

References

  • https://resources.realestate.co.jp/living/average-salary-japan-occupation-age/
  • https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/may/12/salary-what-get-paid-talk-about-it-makes-brits-cringe
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_States
  • https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/how-much-do-you-need-to-earn-to-be-rich-in-australia/news-story/cd7e6647199773c56ad5a9270c7aab87
  • https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1110023901
  • https://www.stlouisfed.org/on-the-economy/2018/january/income-living-standards-china
  • https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/india-s-median-per-capita-income-lowest-among-brics-gallup-113121600968_1.html
  • https://www.ceicdata.com/en/indicator/russia/annual-household-income-per-capita
  • http://www.salaryexplorer.com/salary-survey.php?loc=30&loctype=1
  • https://www.ceicdata.com/en/indicator/mexico/annual-household-income-per-capita
  • https://www.thesouthafrican.com/what-is-average-take-home-salary-in-south-africa/
  • http://emt0.hatenablog.jp/entry/2018/10/24/%E6%98%A0%E7%94%BB%E9%A4%A8%E3%81%AE%E3%83%9D%E3%83%83%E3%83%97%E3%82%B3%E3%83%BC%E3%83%B3%E3%82%BB%E3%83%83%E3%83%88%E3%81%AB%E3%81%A4%E3%81%84%E3%81%A6
  • https://www.moviefoodprices.com/vue-food-prices/
  • https://www.moviefoodprices.com/amc-snack-prices/
  • https://www.moviefoodprices.com/hoyts-food-prices/
  • https://www.moviefoodprices.com/cineplex-popcorn-prices/
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/China/comments/a5p08w/how_much_does_movie_popcorn_cost_in_china/
  • https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/pop-con/articleshow/62892238.cms
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/russia/comments/a5p35w/how_much_does_movie_popcorn_cost_in_russia/
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/brasil/comments/a5p62q/quanto_custa_pipoca_de_cinema_no_brasil/?
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/mexico/comments/a5p9tu/cu%C3%A1nto_cuesta_la_pel%C3%ADcula_de_palomitas_de_ma%C3%ADz_en/?
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/southafrica/comments/a5pcro/how_much_does_movie_popcorn_cost_in_south_africa/?

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