Popcorn and the cinema


Eating popcorn at the cinema is one of those associations that we tend to make, where we can’t picture one without the other.

However, this munching machine was not always present in the film industry which made sense since no one wanted to be busy snacking during a silent film. At first, movie theatres in America wanted nothing to do with popcorn since they wanted to keep a posh clientèle.

The Great Depression is what appears to have made our association of these two things possible. People could afford the luxury of buying a 5 to 10c a bag of popcorn (at the time!) and these popping kernels helped save these theatres from this Depression. The cinema’s main profit was from the popcorn itself rather than from the tickets. By the time films were accessible on our home screens, the microwave popcorn became widely popular.

On a recent note, a study from Cologne University reveals that while eating popcorn we are immune to cinema advertising. It is said that we remember brand names by simulating the pronunciation of the new name with our lips and tongue. However, this is destroyed by the act of chewing. Researchers at Cologne University picked 96 participants to watch a film preceded by adverts. Half of these participants were given popcorn while the remaining were given a sugar cube. It turns out that only the ones eating the sugar cube showed a response to the adverts being displayed.

While advertisers might want to get rid of this popcorn tradition, I think it will not end well, both with the cinema owners and us, cinema lovers!