Man sues theater over the price of Goobers

Maybe it was the film tax rebates…

But something about the movie industry seems  to have upset the locals to the point that they are suing various industry pillars.

Last October, a woman sued a movie studio for allegedly mismarketing the movie “Drive” to seem like “The Fast and the Furious” when it was more like a slow building, uber-violent mob movie or perhaps a really good episode of Miami Vice. (The movie feels like an 80s movie, right down to the soundtrack). She also alleged that it was anti-Semetic because the mobsters were Jewish. That is still pending in Oakland County, at least as of March 6.

Now, a Michigan man has filed a class action suit against AMC Theaters alleging the Livonia 20 cinema charges too much for Goobers. (No really, that’s the claim).

Security technician Joshua Thompson hopes to convince a judge that his local AMC theatre in Livonia, a city within the Detroit metropolitan area, is breaking state consumer protection laws. He has filed a class-action suit at the Wayne County circuit court in southern Michigan asking for affected filmgoers to be refunded and calls for the cinema to be hit with a civil penalty.

Thompson says he paid $8 for a Coke and a packet of Goobers chocolate-covered peanuts at the Livonia AMC cinema on Boxing Day last year, nearly three times the $2.73 he would have been charged for the same snacks at a nearby fast-food restaurant and drug store. He said he used to take his own snacks into the cinema to avoid paying high prices, but was forced to stop when staff put up a notice stating that the practice was banned.

Now, it’s certainly not a stretch to suggest that perhaps movie theaters charge above the food industry standard for popcorn and soda. But it’s not as if they force you to buy it. And even if they did, there are alternatives to actually going to the theater, such as HDTV/Bluray, and various (legal) internet streaming/On Demand options.

The case isn’t expected to go anywhere.

“It’s a loser,” said Gary Victor, an Eastern Michigan University business law professor. He said state Supreme Court decisions in 1999 and 2007 exempted most regulated businesses from the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

Added Ian Lyngklip, a nationally known consumer lawyer in Southfield: “Movie theaters are regulated, so the lawsuit won’t go anywhere”

Victor, an avid moviegoer, agreed that snack prices are excessive at theaters. That’s why he shuns the concession counter unless he’s with a date.

Until then, Joshua, you’ll just have to stick a bottle of soda in your pants like the rest of us. It’s early, but I think we have our Lawsuit of the Month for March.

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