Let's all go to the lobby? Not so fast.

Movie theaters are bracing for supply chain struggles as popcorn and snack product shortages worsen.

Founder and CEO of Cinergy Entertainment Group Jeff Benson called the situation "a mess." His company, which operates six facilities throughout North Carolina, Texas, and Oklahoma, is experiencing shortages of soda flavors, nacho trays, and popcorn bags.

The products can take weeks to restock, he told the Wall Street Journal.


There isn't much that can be done in the meantime, he explained. "You're just not going to have root beer until it comes in."

Some theaters have reportedly resorted to purchasing unused items from closing competitors, even those that feature rival logos. They're also browsing companies such as Amazon to find materials.

Chief executive officer of Preferred Popcorn Norm Krug warned, "Popcorn supply will be tight."

According to him, some farmers are opting to grow soybeans or other types of corn instead of the more difficult popcorn.

Krug, whose company is composed of roughly 150 farmers who provide kernels to movie theaters, explained that there are several economic factors requiring him to pay farmers more to produce the crop.

Neely Schiefelbein is the sales director for Goldenlink North America, a company that makes products used for serving movie theater snacks. She says that popcorn bags, which feature a special lining for butter and grease, are becoming scarce.

The shortage has left theaters scrambling for serving materials, with some opting for more expensive metal or plastic containers. However, sizing options are reportedly limited with other containers.

Schiefelbein said, "At the end of the day, they have to have something to put popcorn in."

Despite the shortages, movie-goers are continuing to stock up on snacks to watch highly anticipated films.


"People are spending such as drunk sailors," explained CEO of LOOK Dine-In Cinemas Brian Schultz. "Drink, appetizer, entree, dessert. When they go out, they're doing it up."

Consumers have not borne the brunt of these shortages, according to theater owners and suppliers. However, as theaters look to recoup losses during the pandemic, they may be raising prices for movie-goers. How much money is considered too much for a bag of popcorn and soda will be determined by consumers.