Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Home cinema

We've taken Ruby to the cinema a couple of times now and although she enjoyed it, I suspect she's not really old enough to thoroughly appreciate the experience. Her 'sitting still' threshold isn't long enough for starters.

The times we've visited were freebies I'm happy to say - they were tickets I'd won in competitions.  Taking the family to the flicks and paying is another thing entirely - especially with a fickle child who may declare 5 minutes into it that she doesn't like it!

I did a (very unscientific) straw pool on Twitter to see how much it costs to take the family to the pictures, including the cost of drinks and snacks.  Although many admitted to sneaking food an drink in, the costs quoted horrified me.  I'd say the average was around £30, with some paying over £50 if they have more children.

What a rip-off!!  The biggest con is undoubtedly the cost of the drinks and popcorn.  Heston's Mission Impossible programme on Channel 4 recently tried to tackle this.  The cost of the raw popcorn is around a penny - this is then sold in a cone for £4.50!!

Instead of the exorbitant costs of going to the pictures, we have our movie nights at home.  Ruby's just getting to the stage where she'll sit through a film and it's great to sometimes be able to snuggle up on the sofa and watch a Disney favourite with her.  Better still, it's virtually free.  Our DVDs are either hired, borrowed from friends and family, birthday presents or picked up at charity shops or car boots.

We make our own popcorn, which actually is a very healthy snack if you don't load it with sugar or salt.  Ruby loves to munch on it.  Don't buy the ready-made stuff, its over-priced and full of additives.  Instead, you can get a bag of popping corn from the supermarket for pennies which will last you ages.

I pop mine in the microwave - put it in a screw top jar with a non-metallic lid (something like a coffee jar works well), and turn the microwave on for about 30 seconds at a time.  Once you've heard it pop and the popping sounds like it's subsided, take it out carefully - the jar will be hot - and serve in homemade paper buckets.  No fat, no salt, no sugar - just delicious movie snack material.

I make toddler sized portions using Ruby's old magazines.  You'll need a square of paper, and if you're using magazines you'll be able to get a square measuring about 8.5 inches.  You may want a larger square for adults.

Here's how to do it (we'll gloss over the bit where I can't remember angles and the end where I go a bit wrong, but it is simple honest!):


  1. We are very much the same as you with movie nights at home and homemade pop corn -though we make it on the hob as I don't really like microwaving things.
    I can't remember the last time I paid to go the cinema..years and years ago I think. Although we do take advantage of the National Film Week, where local cinemas put on free film viewings for schools and educators.
    Depending on what's showing we will see up to 5 films during that.
    Our local town cinema participated for the first time this year which was great, otherwise it's a trip to the nearest city for our viewings which without a car can cost upto £20 in travel! No way we'd do that if we were paying for cinema tickets too!

  2. Yep, cinema trips are horrendously expensive.

    Funny you say about microwaving - popcorn is practically the onely thing I ever cook in the microwave (I have some irrational fear of invisible rays!). With popcorn though its easier, cleaner and no oil :0)

    Thanks for dropping by x

  3. You are so right about how expensive a cinema trip can be. I always sneek in drinks and snacks...otherwise the goodies can cost more than the tickets.

  4. These look fab! Such a brilliant idea. x

  5. I always take food to the cinema with me including a £1 bag of popcorn - our cinema is £5 each with free parking and also has £1 shows during the hols and at weekends.

    We do also have movie nights all cuddled on the settee together with a huge bowl of popcorn that we can all dive into:)

  6. I am really in habit of continuous eating while watching movie. Sometime my eating stuff cost me more that a tickets :P .. great, thanks for specially helping me like this.

  7. Home movie nights are a regular feature of our house too and a great way of indulging in some real down-time as a family and perfect for younger members of the family. In fact I can't remember when we last went to the cinema and on one occasion on seeing a trailer for the latest animated movie on TV, Boy asked if we could watch it, I explained that it was on at the cinema - to which he promptly headed for the lounge saying, "can we watch it now then" - after trying to explain that it wasn't available on our 'cinema' we eventually took them to a 'real cinema' to which he described it as a bigger house where other people you don't know come and watch the film too.
    I have to confess, I do buy the 99p cinema style popcorn and use popcorn boxes from the party suppliers instead of making my own

  8. Thanks for all your comments :0)

    Haha Glitterazzie - love your son's description of the cinema! That's exactly right, and kind of makes you wonder why you'd want to go! x

  9. It's the cost of the pop corn that really gets to me!!!

  10. The last time I went to the cinema it was £17.00 just for me and my 18 year old to see the film,she insisted that I did NOT buy pop corn as I would pass out at the price :O.So I took my own instead.

  11. Totally agree with the cost of going to the cinema its only something we do maybe once a year around xmas time as a treat for k but we tend to stick with movie nights/afternoons at home but i dont make the popcorn can never find any in my supermarket so its 99p big bag of stuff full of sugar oooops lol
    I stock up on cheap dvd's from play.com when they have lots for £2.99 and also regulary buy 2nd hand ones from charity shops so weve a plentiful supply for rainy days here ;D

  12. The cost of popcorn at cinemas is INSANE isn't it??

    Thanks all for your comments x

  13. I think a trip to the pictures is one of the biggest rip offs ever now. We take the kids to cheap saturday morning showings, but that's about it. So expensive. Loved the vlog of the back of your head, lol! Very practical little popcorn holder. I will bear that idea in mind next time we watch a film at home and eat home-made popcorn :O)

  14. Oooh I love movie nights at home and so cute that you made popcorn bags and everything!!! They are super quick to make and great way to recycle! Clever you!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Crafts Party!