How do you watch movies in a theater? While sitting in the seat that theater provides you? Probably! That’s pretty much how everyone watches movies, preferably with one hand deep in a box of popcorn, the other shooting M&Ms straight into their beaks; eventually it all gets washed down with a chemical waterfall of soda or a day-glo slushie. It’s the American way! Yet the F.D.A. is trying to crack down on this glorious national pastime by forcing theaters to put calorie counts on their snack displays. In retaliation, the National Association of Theatre Owners is making a number of truly astronomical reaches to avoid the new new regulations, per the Hollywood Reporter.
While N.A.T.O. (yeah, not that N.A.T.O.) isn’t combatting the F.D.A.’s request to put calorie counts on menu boards themselves, the organization is rankled by the request to “post calorie counts adjacent to self-service items and food on display.”
“This is redundant and burdensome,” the statement reads.
Why isn’t it necessary? Well, according to N.A.T.O., people aren’t necessarily sitting and motionless while watching movies. Though the F.D.A. argued that “movies attract sedentary people,” N.A.T.O. rejects this claim: “The F.D.A. provided no source or study conducted of moviegoers and their habits to support this statement,” it wrote August 2.
You’re reading that right. How can the F.D.A. really know that people in theaters watch movies sitting down if they don’t have any tangible sources or studies to back up such an outlandish claim? Who’s to say? Some people, in fact, do spend several minutes standing in the aisles, squinting in the dark as they try to locate the friends who warned them not to go to the bathroom because the movie was about to start. Maybe some people watch entire films standing in tree pose, to the direct irritation of the person behind them. Maybe some people lightly jog in place, their glowing Fitbits reminding them that they’ve almost made their daily step requirement.
N.A.T.O. also argued that it’s impossible to calorically regulate all snacks, because they all have slightly different measurements and are prepared differently. For example: much like snowflakes, no two bags of popcorn are alike.
“Two large bags of popcorn filled using the same scoop could contain different calorie counts, because it is impossible to ensure that there is exactly the same number of kernels in each bag and that each kernel is coated in precisely the same amount of oil,” the organization wrote.
Truly incredible. Of course, it’s no surprise that N.A.T.O. is fighting against any and all regulations that might cause people to think twice about buying those expensive, deeply unhealthy snacks. Concessions make up a huge part of movie theater sales, notching hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Hiking the price up genuinely helps theaters at a time when people are going to the movies less and less, smoothing out the rough spots in an increasingly more uncertain industry. If a calorie display is going to stop folks from shelling out cash on those high-priced snacks, you can bet N.A.T.O. will be there to fight it every step of the way.
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