Quebec to compensate movie theatres for lost snack revenue after ‘Popcorngate’

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Quebec Premier Francois Legault says his government will compensate movie theatre owners for lost concession stand revenue after a disagreement he is calling “Popcorngate.”

The province has said movie theatres can reopen Feb. 26 but cannot sell food, in order to ensure people wear masks throughout the duration of films to limit spread of COVID-19.

Legault said today the owner of the Guzzo Cinemas chain had threatened to stay closed because of the difficulty turning a profit without selling snacks.

The premier says he’ll compensate move theatre owners for concession stand losses because he wants theatres to stay open to give parents an additional activity to do with their kids during the March break week.

Cinema owner Vincenzo Guzzo’s public criticism of the reopening plan has inspired the term Popcorngate, and the name has since been picked up by other politicians, including the leader of the Parti Quebecois.

Legault says he was surprised to get drawn into an argument over popcorn but he understands that cinema owners need to be compensated for lost revenue.