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In Defense of Sneaking Food into Movie Theaters

Some say bringing your own refreshments is 'tacky' and 'desperate.' I say they are wrong.
Compose image via Wikimedia Commons.

Life’s fun when you break the rules, and there’s no rule that’s more fun to break than sneaking food into a movie theater.

Smuggling an outside snack into a movie theater is far too often seen as taboo. In many cases, this is because it is outright outlawed by the movie theaters themselves. Whatever. I have said this before, and I will say it again: Laws sometimes exist to encourage us to be the most boring versions of ourselves, and by own principles, here’s what I suggest: Smuggle supermarket foods into movie theaters, full stop, no questions asked.


I’ve maintained this stance firmly since my mother and I tore through a bag of Lays during The Road to El Dorado in 1999 (don’t blame us—we were the only ones in the theater!). But I'm here to vouch for it even more forcefully after The Hollywood Reporter’s Seth Abramovitch tweeted, on Saturday, rather maliciously against this practice.

"Bringing supermarket snacks to a movie theater will never not be desperate and tacky,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ah, poor Abramovitch, ratio’d into oblivion, quote-responses to his tweet far more viral than his initial one. I can only feel so bad for Abramovitch, though, because he is incredibly, completely, utterly:

Photo via Pixabay user ArtsyBee.

Don’t sneak food into a movie theater! is a plea many other nauseatingly boring conformists have made throughout history. I don’t mean to take Abramovitch's innocuous tweet too seriously, but there’s something vaguely classist about labeling snack-smuggling as “tacky” and “desperate,” even if that wasn’t the intention.

After all, the most compelling reason to sneak food into a movie theater is usually that snacks sold in movie theaters tend to be overpriced as shit. Who can possibly afford to regularly pay $10 for some hideously overpriced gummy slugs, or dish out wads of hard-earned income for some obscenely small bags of stale popcorn?

Please. Not all of us plebeian moviegoers can expense our snacks on a company's dime. We must topple this suffocating capitalistic tyranny, one act of Utz-smuggling at a time.


Start small; put some Pop Rocks in your back pants’ pocket. Strategize. For example, remember that seasonality matters. Is it winter? Perfect. Stick those Jaffa cakes in your jacket. The colder it is outside, the better; you’ll probably be wearing a coat, and with layers come endless possibilities for snack storage on your person. (See this WikiHow entry for more tips on how to carry foods into the theater furtively.)

Now, I'm not suggesting you throw propriety out the window once you engage in this quietly radical act of civil disobedience. Once you're inside the actual theater, be courteous! Keep quiet while you chew. Don't rustle chip bags needlessly. Restrain yourself to one snack or two; don't bring a fucking six-course lunch.

Anyway, Abramovitch, horrified to see the response his initial tweet engendered, doubled down on his stance on Monday. "Theater rules CLEARLY state no outside food! You are all outing yourselves as rule breakers!!!" he shouted.

That’s right, man. We are. Join us.