The Popcorn Fiasco at AMC Theaters


Ava Talwar, Staff Writer

It was a brisk Saturday afternoon when I entered the local AMC Theater in Freehold, New Jersey. As I was paying my friend, Vanessa Pacheco, for my movie ticket, the fire alarm started rapidly beating. As people slowly started to exit, Vanessa and I pondered if this was a prank. We heard a staff member yell, “Everyone out! It’s just popcorn!” That was it. A popcorn fiasco. 

At around 1:10 P.M. on Saturday, November 19th, 2022, a popcorn machine caught on fire. Luckily, our friend, Talia Naum, was able to let us stay in her heated car, while we wondered if we would be let back in. News flash… we weren’t.

 I was lucky enough to conduct interviews with both Pacheco and Naum in Naum’s backseat. 


Ava Talwar: Vanessa, tell me… How was your experience today at AMC Theaters? What happened?

Vanessa Pacheco: It was horrible! Ava and I walked into the movie theater, not even a minute in, and all of a sudden I hear the fire alarm go off around me. Ava was paying me my $13, and we just had to leave. Everyone was just like, “Evacuate!”

AT: What were you doing when you were standing outside, after being evacuated?

VP: I just was hoping that I would get my refund. And I was super cold in that moment. We were looking for our friend, Talia, who was in the parking lot! 

AT: That must have been really devastating for you. How did you manage?

VP: Talia found us on the side of the road.

AT: And on that note, we’ll turn it over to Talia. Talia, how did you feel when you drove into the AMC Theater parking lot to see a crowd of people outside?

Talia Naum: I was like- wow. Is there a lot of people here to see Black Panther [Wakanda Forever]? And then, I don’t know- I’m just trying to park, like- what’s going on? And then I texted [Vanessa and Ava] you guys and I found you. Now, we’re sitting in my car. So we’re not freezing. Yay!

AT: Wow, incredible. Do you have any regrets about this experience? Any “what if” ideas?

TN: What if I got to see the movie, and they didn’t burn down AMC?

So true queen! – VP

AT: Were there any police cars or fire trucks in your eyeline?

TN: Right now, there’s 2 firetrucks and the police were here. There are some firemen outside. There is something that looks like a burnt popcorn machine, or that could be a hose. We’re just waiting. Seeing what happens. 

AT: That must have been really sad. I’m really sorry for you.

TN: Thanks.


Luckily, unlike what Talia said, AMC did not burn down! They were back screening movies the next day, Sunday, November 20, 2022. After the evacuation on Saturday, they decided to cancel all movie screenings for reasons related to smoke. Pacheco, Naum, and I never got to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but we are hoping to return soon! Maybe we won’t order the popcorn, though.