Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull opened on Wednesday. Whoever possesses the skull will be cursed to kill the one they love. Crystal Skull movie goers might find that that the price of complementary good, popcorn, has risen in price. Will the higher price of popcorn kill the movie experience?
The usual explaination of popcorn pricing is that a two-tier system of pricing is in place to capture the consumers surplus remaining after paying the admission price. If a movie goer would be willing to pay $20 to see the movie, if the theater charges $15 admission, then the concession stand could charge $5 for popcorn. Disney has the same pricing decision with rides and admission.
This time the pricing decision for popcorn is left to market forces. USA Today reports that cost-push inflation is pushing popcorn prices higher. The pricing decision isn't a hard one for theaters. Econ 101 predicts that if the price of a complementary good increases, then the demand for its complement will decrease. The movie theater will have to decide if people are coming to watch Indy or eat popcorn.