What Should You Be Eating at the Movie Theater?

By  · Published on October 24th, 2013

Chicken tenders. Mozzarella sticks. Pizza. Nachos. Mini corndogs. Popcorn. Buncha Crunch and Sour Patch Kids and Twizzlers, oh my. No, this is not a rant against the fat content and caloric hit of your local movie theater’s many concession options, it’s a call to find the most silent pick for in-theater snacking. Feel free to put whatever you want in your mouth (we’re the last people who will deny the unique charms of eating a dozen mini corndogs as you watch a horror film, and there’s few things better than getting a full meal at your local Alamo Drafthouse while indulging in an otherwise silent theater), just so long as it’s not making a loud noise as it goes through your struggling-in-the-dark hands and past your lips.

In short, popcorn has to go. This aggression will not stand, man. (At least, as long as there are people out there who somehow make popcorn-eating sound more like gravel disposal.) Cellophane-wrapped candy bags can fell even the most considerate moviegoers, those who think that opening them slowly somehow means that they’re making less noise, a cruel trick of plastic that just enrages everyone sitting near you. Can even soda survive?


Honestly, even soda probably can’t survive. There’s just too much chance for squeaky straws, shaky ice, and slurpy final gulps. Perhaps stick to something bottled? Go no ice, no lid, no straw, and keep your greedy last sip tendencies to a minimum?

Savory Snacks

Listen, we get it, popcorn is the classic choice, and when it’s fresh and hot and buttery, it’s just about irresistible. But popcorn, despite being the most classic of movie foods, is also the worst movie food imaginable. It’s crunchy, it’s oily, it’s kicked the bucket in favor of crinkly paper bags, it’s nearly impossible to finish a bag on your own (and who wants to take home leftover popcorn?), it goes everywhere with the slightest jostle, and some people somehow manage to make chewing a food that is half pillowy soft air-popped corn sound like they’re running their gem polisher in the theater. Abandon it now.

Nachos. Nachos. Nachos. Sound aside, why are you eating this? Sure, fake cheese has its place, but once you’ve had real nachos with real cheese and real chips, it’s hard to stomach stale Tostitos and orange stuff and pretend that is somehow a suitable nachoplacement. If you need to do it, fine, keep crunching down, and you may pass muster.

Hot dogs may be somewhat revolting, but they’re easy to eat and relatively silent to chew. Go wild.

Even outside the confines of the theater, mini corndogs, chicken tenders, and mozzarella sticks are some of the world’s most magical junk food items. They are also strangely well-suited for theater consumption, simply because they aren’t crunchy, they come with their own nifty little trays for ease of eating, and dipping sauces are mostly silent way to spice up your snacks. Congrats, guys, you are some of the finest theater eats around (at least, soundwise).


Anything with a cellophane wrapper is banished, unless you’re willing to fully unwrap it before the movie starts. Anything hard in a box is out (sorry, Buncha Crunch, Milk Duds, Raisinets, Sugar Babies, Jujubes, and Sweetarts), but Dots and Junior Mints pass because they can be soft enough to not rattle.

Oh, no, that’s everything. Fine – Dots and Junior Mints are the only acceptable candy options. We’re so sorry.

Ice Cream

If you can eat ice cream in a dark theater without getting covered in sticky, goopy, melty remnants, good for you – we’ll allow ice cream.

Mini Meals

In the same vein as mozzarella sticks, mini corndogs, and chicken tenders, even the biggest chains are getting into the mini meal game, adding in fries (and even curly fries, what a world) to tenders, dogs, and pizza platters to give you a full “meal” of “America’s greatest foods.” Just like their appetizer brethren, they come with tray-like boxes and easy dipping bowls. The only problem? Don’t spend the entire movie eating your “meal.” It’s not a real “meal,” and it doesn’t require that same care and time. Scarf it.

So, what should you be eating at the movie theater? Any damn thing you want, as long as you keep it quiet, keep it quick, and clean up after yourselves. Time to eat some popcorn (in the sanctity of our own homes).