Will AMC deliver blockbuster results in the popcorn aisle?
AMC Entertainment, the largest movie theater chain in the U.S., announced plans to bring its AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn to retail.
The popcorn, served in theaters since 1920, will be available through four new platforms:
- Owned retail: The company will open five “AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn” stores, counters and/or kiosks in shopping malls in the first half of 2022 and plans to have up to 15 by the end of 2022 and “significantly more” beyond. The initial locations are likely to be in malls without an AMC theater. Offerings will include traditional and gourmet-flavored popcorn, candy and soda.
- Home delivery: AMC will make its “freshly popped” popcorn available for delivery from nearby theaters through food delivery-to-home services.
- To-Go: “To Go” packages will be sold at theaters for takeout and/or pickup.
- Third-party retail: in 2022, AMC’s prepackaged and ready-to-pop microwavable popcorn will begin hitting shelves in supermarkets and convenience stores.
AMC said in a statement that the non-theater popcorn push provides an opportunity to diversify and create new revenue streams.
“The announcement that AMC will become a competitor in the multi-billion popcorn market is so natural and logical, one wonders why the idea has not been tried before,” said Adam Aron, AMC’s chairman and CEO, in a statement.
He noted that AMC is the largest freshly popped popcorn provider in the U.S., popping in the range of 50 tons per day. He said, “With this new AMC initiative, we expect to reach entirely new segments of the U.S. population with our popular AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn.”
The launch comes as pandemic-wary consumers remain reluctant to return to cinemas and the home-entertaining threat from streaming services from Netflix, Hulu, Disney and Apple has accelerated. A Wall Street Journal article from early October said cinema owners are being forced to reimagine how their spaces are used and are experimenting with sporting event broadcasts and video game play.
The popcorn category is also experiencing a resurgence with the introduction of a variety of gourmet flavors and has become popular as a healthy, on-the-go snack, rich in vitamin B complex, antioxidants and fibers.
- AMC Entertainment to Expand Its Business Beyond Theatrical Exhibition and Enter the Multi-Billion Dollar Popcorn Industry – AMC
- AMC Theatres Will Start Selling Popcorn in Shopping Malls and Supermarkets – Variety
- The Future Of Movie Theaters Is More Than Just Movies – The Wall Street Journal
- Universal Tosses Cinemas a Lifeline While Testing New Distribution Model – The Wall Street Journal
- Popcorn Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Ready-to-Eat, Microwave), By Flavor (Sweet, Savory), By Shape (Mushroom, Butterfly), By Application (Home, Commercial), And Segment Forecasts, 2021 – 2028 – Million Insights – Million Insights
- Slideshow: Tracking the latest popcorn innovation – Baking Business
- Flavor innovation makes popcorn category ‘pop’ – Candy Industry
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that it’s “natural and logical” to bring popcorn from AMC’s theaters to retail settings? Which of the four distribution options will likely be most successful? What advice would you have for the launch?