At some stage this might have been true while they were paying off the cinema itself , but at this stage i'm sure they make profit either way. Their only loss they make is when their cinema is empty, and raising their popcorn/drinks prices is not going to make one cent difference.
Besides, the interesting thing is, i've checked the cost of Coke at the restaurants in the mall i usually go to movies [Irene Mall] and you'll find Sterkinekor is quite often cheaper on Coke than a restaurant....so you can technically then say all restaurants run at a loss too and recoup on the drinks. I'm talking R15 for a 500ml [330ml in alot of cases] coke in a restaurant [go check you'll be surprised] .
Conclusion: We are getting ripped off -everywhere- in the hospitality/entertainment industry.