AMC Theatres Debuts New AMC-Branded Candy

The largest cinema chain is selling its own chocolate candy for the first time in a century.

"I'm going to hold out for late '23 that we can introduce a private label brand of popular candies, in our theaters, offer them to consumers at a lower price and achieve a higher profitability in doing so." This was the optimistic projection of Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theatres, in a Q1 earnings call back in May of this year. It seems that Aron was right on target: the nation's largest cinema chain has just announced that it will begin selling its own brand of "gourmet" candies this week under the label AMC Cinema Sweets.

The new concession stand candies will come in four varieties: Milk Chocolate Covered Pretzels with a Dark Chocolate Drizzle, Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds, Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins, and Milk Chocolate Covered Peanuts. The press release notes that these products are the result of "more than a year of study and close collaboration with top confectioners," and descriptors like "premium" and "gourmet" make several appearances in the announcement.

You might be wondering: Why would AMC go to all this trouble when everyone already likes Peanut M&M's and Raisinets? The answer, unsurprisingly, comes down to dollars and cents.

Why AMC is selling its own chocolate at the concession stand

For its entire 103-year history, AMC, like virtually all other cinemas, has sold major label concessions including Coca-Cola, M&M's, and ICEE products. This means that on some level, the theater chain is at the mercy of the market. Aron noted in the company's Q1 earnings call that wholesale brand-name candy companies were charging AMC up to 33% more due to supply chain issues, resulting in more costly candy at the concessions counter. And with chocolate supplies in jeopardy, the price fluctuations might only grow worse.

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By making its own candy, AMC can cut out the middle man on some of the higher-priced items, ideally resulting in a less expensive product for consumers and a higher profit margin for the company. And at a time when cinema attendance is on the decline, those profit margins are everything.

Indeed, AMC has already spent much of 2023 focused on food as a way to recapture lost profits. Earlier this year, the chain released AMC-branded popcorn in grocery stores, both in ready-to-eat bags and as microwavable pouches. The company has long partnered with Uber Eats to deliver cinematic snacks, and Aron even hinted this fall that AMC-branded booze could be on the way.

The new AMC Cinema Sweets candies are intended to complement the current variety of treats available at AMC, not overtake them. The offerings are merely a budget option for those who don't want to pay a premium for name brands like Goobers and Flipz. While there are only four new chocolate products debuting this month, the press release notes there are "more on the way."

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Which concession stand candies would you like to see AMC tackle next? Personally, I would be curious to taste a fresh spin on Sno-Caps.

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