When you go to the cinema going to watch a movie was the biggie when it came to experience but to me also part of the movie experience is sitting there with you Coke and popcorn. Enjoying a flick with your favourite munchies is my favourite Saturday afternoon pastime and even if the film is crap having your full attention on something good helps the shit you’re watching go by quickly.
So I’ve always wondered how did popcorn become a popular snack in the cinemas around the world? researching the web about popcorn, I came across many different origins but the most popular origin was from the native Americans who discovered by throwing the corn into the fire and they believed the popping sound was the noise of their angry gods, but the Aztecs used to popcorn and make the corn into garlands for the women to wear during the weddings and ritual dances. But it was the 1800’s when corn became readily available the farmers in America gave way to a big traction of popping corn. As time went by into 19th-century vendors would sell popcorn at carnivals, circus and even found in some grocery stores.
Into the 20th century, the advent of the movies and birth of the ‘talking’ movies people flocked to cinemas to see the spectacular experience. It was the Americans who introduced popcorn to cinemas but they didn’t accept it right away and their customers bought the popcorn from the street vendors who were selling outside the theatres. It was just a matter of time when the cinemas caught on and started their own concession stands, the popcorn was very cheap compared to other snacks plus America was going through the great depression so it helped the popcorn industry grow. Even with world war 2 and a big shortage of sugar and wheat, the Americans turned to popcorn for their snacks.
It was Butterkist that introduced popcorn to the British public in 1938 through popcorn machines and with many Americans based in the UK during the World war two the machines came very popular. After the war Craven Keiller opened a factory in York and from their popcorn was introduced to the British cinema audiences, it became the number brand of popcorn in British cinemas. In the 1990’s sales declined for butterkist but so did audiences going to cinema and butterkist were sold to Cadburys. But after much research and development, Butterkrist was relaunched in bigger share packets and once again we see the brand that started the ball rolling next to the cinema’s own brands that you now get from the machines.
Popcorn will always be part of the experience going to the cinema, yes many people nowadays have got a habit of bringing their own snacks, but there always be a market. I just laughed when I heard the Picturehouse cinema chain has now stopped selling popcorn, people will just buy it from the big supermarket chains that are now next many of the cinemas. How can they blame the state of the screens surely on popcorn? I’ve worked in cinemas as an usher and majority of the mess I used to pick up came from spilt coke or ice cream or even cheese for mangos been thrown around, so if you’re going to ban one thing you have to ban every concession, popcorn is easier to clean than many things.