Ever since I was a kid, we have routinely brought our own pre-packaged snacks into movies in order to avoid the exorbitant prices of those sold in the theaters.

Is it permitted to bring such snacks into a theater according to halakhah or is one obligated to buy snacks and drinks there?

  • What? This a relatively reasonable and siimple question. Is it allowed to bring in your own to avoid their prices or not? Is there an analogous situation in halakhah or not? Kol tuv. – user3342 Nov 26 '15 at 22:06
  • 4
    Further twist: What if the food they sell isn't kosher? – Scimonster Nov 26 '15 at 22:16
  • 2
    Also is the overcharge a violation of halacha in itself (ona'as devorim) – sabbahillel Nov 26 '15 at 23:32
  • 5
    @sabbahillel You mean "ona'as mamon". – LN6595 Nov 27 '15 at 0:53
  • @Scimonster - That is a concern and should be answered as well. I guess that I was referring to packaged candy, the vast majority of which is certified kasher. Kol tuv. – user3342 Nov 27 '15 at 1:17

There is a simple and easy alternative by which to avoid any questionable behavior. Namely, don't eat snacks during the movie, and enjoy them before or afterward. It's certainly better under halacha to avoid potential violations when possible.

When you enter the theater you are agreeing to abide by their rules as their guest. Bringing in food, is a violation of that agreement. So right there you are obligated not to violate agreements entered into voluntarily by you.

Whether the overcharge is halacha, isn't relevant to whether you can bring in candy to work around it. For instance, if someone else violates halacha, that doesn't imply in any way that you can. One can't judge easily if the overcharges are essential to making the movie profitable enough to stay in business, so it may not be an overcharge after all.

Whether kosher snacks are available is similarly not relevant. You can choose not to eat. So by bringing in and eating, you are choosing to break your agreement made as guest in their business.

  • 2
    Citing sources for your claims (and implicit claims, e.g. that halacha compels me to abide by my host's rules) would improve the value of your post. – msh210 Nov 27 '15 at 6:48
  • 1
    Your first paragraph, while offering sound advice ("better safe than sorry"), doesn't actually answer the question of whether it is permitted. Your second paragraph assumes (if I catch your meaning correctly) that a paying patron in a theater has the status of an ordinary guest in a home, but you provide no evidence to support this. And it is not self-evident that entry into a theater implies acceptance of additional rules beyond the basic requirement to pay for entry. – Fred Nov 27 '15 at 8:18
  • 1
    "I don't think I'm welcome here" - FWIW, it's easy to get discouraged, esp. at the beginning. The rules on this site can seem strict and "foreboding", but, in general, they are for good reason, as these rules assure higher question quality. Stick with it, at least for a while. Remember, that you don't necessarily have to be a consistent asker or answerer. I get a lot of great info just by browsing. I stopped counting the number of negative votes I get. Sometimes, they're useful. Other times, I ignore them, altogether, esp. when no one comments on it. – DanF Nov 27 '15 at 17:20
  • 2
    I second @DanF 's comment and welcome you to stay. Ignore an occasional downvote, which might just be someone wanting you to revise something or just someone feeling grumpy. Of course for a new user with low rep, downvotes mean more than someone who is established, but stick around as your contribution is certainly welcome. – Mike Nov 27 '15 at 17:49
  • 1
    @curls I was about to question about a movie theater's policy, until you put the link from Regal. Given a busy schedule, expensive movie prices, and gunky (traif yet!) food mess in theaters, I haven't been in a theater in about 5 years. Youtube works well for me and it's free. – DanF Nov 27 '15 at 17:59

It may be a chilul Hashem if someone who works there sees you trying to save money at their loss, especially if there is a no food from outside policy. He may think, “I knew it! Jews are cheap” even though we are not. But with all due respect going to the theater itself may be the greater chilul Hashem, as the Gemara in Avodah Zarah (19b) clearly states that going transgresses the Torah prohibition of Leitzanus. I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m being too strong - I’m just trying to help a fellow Jew because I care. The reward for holding back even though it’s enticing is greater than we can possibly fathom. You are literally giving Hashem a big hug & a kiss by standing up for what is right & what He wants you to do!!

  • I took the liberty of fixing the grammar in your post and editing the source in AZ. You should know that it’s not so simple when and how that Gemara applies, but that’s not for here. – DonielF Sep 7 '17 at 12:52
  • DonielF i truly respect you & appreciate what your trying to say.. yet i vehemently DISAGREE, as someone who has embarrassingly been there done that i know all to well what the theaters represent promulgate & wickedly influence unsuspecting easily swayed people...filth, immorality, drugs aggrandizement & infatuation for bloodshed & haughtiness, bucking authority, drug use vulgar language coarse low & free spirited indifference, it is the epicenter of the three cardinal sins giluy arayos shfichas damim & avodah zarah true sickly twisted spiritual poison ...no ben torah should ever go there – Forward Strides Sep 28 '17 at 5:58
  • I don’t know what theaters you go to, but as long as you stay away from rated R and maybe even PG-13 Leitzanus would seem to be the worst issue, which, as I said, it’s not so simple that it even is an issue here. – DonielF Sep 28 '17 at 15:44
  • even if one does go to a 'PG' movie & it's in the same theater as an 'R' which btw the last time i watched a movie, 10 years ago even PG was beginning to get inappropriate..the Gemara in Shabbos says explicitly if one has a choice to go one route & there is no lewdness there & he specifically chooses another shorter route & there IS lewdness there....you can look up the Gemara yourself it would be to harsh for me to say it on this forum...im sorry i couldnt find the daf number for the gemara i remeber my Rebbi Rav Dovid Barkin Ztz''l, speaking it out in a shiur he gave once.. – Forward Strides Oct 9 '17 at 9:00
  • in addition going to a theater is bitul Torah..there are far safer forms of entertainment & relaxation like inspireclips.com gruntig.com or mi yodea! as opposed to going to a theater i dont believe any real Rav would pasken it is acceptable to go to a theater in this day and age. – Forward Strides Oct 9 '17 at 9:08

Here are some elements of reasoning about your question:

It would seem strange that I can force you to remain hungry and thereby coerce you into buying from me (but you are not forced to put in the theater).

If the theater was an individual's house we would say this is preposterous (condition for entry).

The right of way in a theater for a ticket holder for the duration of the movie is perhaps a "civil right" and cannot be abnegated by your normal routine.

You must log in to answer this question.