How many calories are in a large movie popcorn from AMC, Regal and Cinemark?

1 minute, 42 seconds Read

Movies aren’t cheap. Not only can the tickets be expensive, but if you’re hungry and thirsty, you can easily spend over $50 for two people.


Like easy. With two movie tickets with a 3D premium, a large tub of popcorn, some popcorn flavoring, nachos, two large sodas, and a box of candy you’re easily doling out $65.

Not just that, that popcorn you’re eating is also costing you in a different, less-immediate way than lightening your wallet up of $9.50. A couple years ago, the Center for Science in the Public Interest took samples of the popcorn from three of the largest movie theatre chains in the country and sent them off to lab to be tested for their nutritional information. The results of the test weren’t surprising in that there’s a lot of calories, but it’s more than you would expect, not to mention the salt and fat that comes along with it.


Worse, the calories that were reported by the independent lab were higher than what AMC and Regal were reporting to their customers (I couldn’t find Cinemark’s reported calories). And we’re not talking a difference of a few calories but hundreds! Take a look:

Theatre Reported Cals Real Cals Sodium SatFat
AMC 660 1030 / 57g
Cinemark / 910 1500mg /
Regal 960 1200 980mg 60g

(Consumer Reports did their own test in 2012 and came up with similarly disturbing numbers around calories, sodium and saturated fat…)

All those calories and sodium and beautiful saturated fat to clog those arteries… and that’s just the plain popcorn. So if you’re adding some flavoring from Kernel Season’s or some of the buttery oil topping, then it’ll cost you more. Specifically, every tablespoon of movie theatre butter adds another 120 calories and up to 9 more grams of saturated to your popcorn.

So if you order a large bucket of popcorn while watching a 2.5 hour movie and you’re not careful, you can consume more than a day’s calories (especially with the enticing bottomless bucket from AMC).  We hope it’s a good movie, at least.


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