Skip to Content

Can You Buy Popcorn at the Movies Without Seeing a Movie?

Can You Buy Popcorn at the Movies Without Seeing a Movie?

I am going to say no, that you do not have to see a movie in order to buy popcorn. Did I trick you? Sorry about that! That is the truth, though, you can buy popcorn without seeing a movie. There are actually several ways of going about this and I will guide you through them.

I have been around movie theater workers who actually give popcorn away for free. Of course, they use a strange looking container, since they have to count those for their shift, but you can eat free popcorn at a movie if you “know someone.” Well, maybe it’s just that person.

I bet you they don’t even work there anymore. Either way, here are a few ways you can score popcorn at the movie theater without seeing a movie.

Walk Into a Cinema and Buy Popcorn

Front view of a popcorn and softdrink counter at the movie theatre entrance.

It is that simple. In fact, I am sure movie theaters would be very happy if people did this. I have always enjoyed a movie cinema’s popcorn so much that I would take home the leftovers after seeing a film. It’s expensive, it’s not going to go stale, and it tastes even better the next day.

And I have a child who sometimes will eat his tub of popcorn, and sometimes will not. Throwing away movie theater popcorn is simply sacrilegious in my viewpoint. Now, for the big reveal…how do you buy popcorn at a movie theater without paying to see a film?

Go into a theater that allows you to buy movie tickets at the counter. From there, you can buy popcorn and walk out. Without even seeing a movie. It’s that simple. The popcorn is actually the lure anyway! Considering how pricey it feels to buy popcorn when at a movie, it sounds preposterous that you would want to do this.

However, if you want to eat that movie theater popcorn, that’s all you need to do. 

Most larger theaters, like the AMC Theatres, do not require you to have a ticket for a movie in order to enter. Therefore, you can easily enter the theater lobby, walk up to the counter, and order a tub of popcorn.

Extra salty and more butter than humanly safe, please! And walk out! No movie watching required! In fact, I might just add this to my summertime bucket list–buy movie theater popcorn and snacks plus sodas and leave without watching a film. 

What would that do to the theater, you say? Well, considering AMC is already planning a home subscription service to deliver their AMC Perfectly Popcorn™ movie theater popcorn, it sounds like they would love to see you come in! Again, popcorn and soda is a movie theater’s bread and butter.

And ever since the corona crisis, this is the only way to get those cinema budgets booming again.

Buy AMC Perfectly Popcorn™ for Home Munching

A bucket of popcorn and two cinema tickets.

Let me begin by explaining more about their movie theater popcorn. AMC Perfectly Popcorn™ is special in a number of ways. The company “hand-selects [their] own mixture of seeds with the movie theatre experience in mind, resulting in a unique blend of kernels that can’t be found anywhere else.”

Here is a video that discusses this popcorn.

According to Variety, “Beginning next year, you won’t have to visit your local movie theater to buy a perfectly buttered bucket of popcorn.” In order to combat the COVID-19 crisis that destroyed cinemas, AMC Theatres, which is the largest movie theater chain in the US, are tossing out their popcorn in all directions. 

AMC Theatres has “plans to sell its popcorn in shopping malls around the country” and “is also preparing to partner with home delivery services in 2022 to allow customers to order from a nearby AMC location.”

Additionally, “down the road, the company intends to have a presence at supermarkets and convenience stores with pre-packaged and microwavable AMC Theaters branded popcorn.”

This means you definitely do not have to buy admission to see a show in order to enjoy that tasty, salty, butter snack we know as movie theater popcorn. While AMC Theatres is the only ones doing all of “that,” you can also buy movie theater-style popcorn ready for the microwave.

This is available at all grocery stores and will fill that need and craving you have for cinema-style popcorn. 

What Makes Movie Theater Popcorn So Special

A group of friends in a 3d glasses watching in cinema eating popcorn.

First of all, if you have a chance to try chocolate popcorn or movie popcorn with chips and pretzels tossed in the tub, you are in for a treat. These are the reasons we go to the movie cinema’s popcorn–for the specialness of it. And because it’s fun to eat when watching a movie.

I remember reading about a theater in Texas that does an annual popcorn toss, and one year there was a woman who accidently tossed off her diamond wedding ring when throwing popcorn at people. It took them ages to find it! What a mess!

That being said, going to a movie, smelling popcorn, and indulging in what is far too big of a container filled with popcorn is what movies are all about for many folks–including myself! I consider going to the movies a full day of eating. I end up stuffed with popcorn and soda, and I try super hard to get a refill in the largest size possible.

And I always get some candy, mainly chocolates, to drop into the popcorn while hot to add to the mix. I also try to mimic this experience at home, which works well since COVID-19 took away the movies for our community for such a long time, a year, right? Yes, I believe it was.

So, now I have gone from making stovetop popcorn in a large pot with a glass lid to using an air popper, which is much better and more efficient in making popcorn. However, it is still not making it the way they do in the movie theaters, which is my ultimate goal.

Enter Orville Redenbacher’s Popping and Topping Buttery Flavored Oil and Gold Medal’s Flavacol Popcorn Seasoning Salt

Once the popcorn has finished popping into one of the large plastic red and white popcorn tubs I got just for popcorn, I add a teaspoon of the seasoning salt and a ton of the buttery oil. It is exactly the same popcorn salt that they use at theaters around the US, and I would bet they use it at AMC, too, even though requests from the company to know about their use of Flavacol were not answered. 

The oil is a buttery flavored canola oil that is minimally altered and has few ingredients. You could probably make canola oil with buttery flavoring at home, but I doubt you would ever get the coloring, as well. It comes from beta carotene added to the oil to provide an orange tone.

The finished result is the taste and mouthfeel of movie butter popcorn, but without having to do much more than push an air popping corn button and spray on some extra salt and oil–like you want to do at the theater anyway! 

However, when you buy these ingredients and make movie theater popcorn at home for yourself, you save a ton of money. This way you don’t even have to get dressed and you certainly do not have to visit the cinema. Yet you can have hot and ready salty, buttery popcorn in the place you want it.

I plan on taking our popping corn maker on the road for a road trip this summer. Having hot and ready popcorn in a hotel room while watching a movie will do wonders for our homesickness! If we suffer from that, which I am sure we will, but that movie theater popcorn will surely help.