Blog: Dean BestCinema snobs snub popcorn

Dean Best | 13 August 2008

I was quite surprised to learn yesterday (12 August) that increasing numbers of independent cinemas are banning popcorn.

The move comes in a bid to win audiences who are supposedly put off by the strong smell and noisy munching produced by the traditional movie accompaniment.

Picturehouse, which operates 19 cinemas across the UK, is experimenting with the idea of banning popcorn at selected showings. Going one step further, Everyman Cinemas has decided to stamp out popcorn from the 18 venues it operates.

Indeed, Everyman owner Daniel Broch, told The Telegraph: "I will de-popcorn every new venue I acquire. It has a disproportionate influence on the space in terms of its overwhelming smell, the cultural idea of it and the operational problems created by the mess it produces."

I love popcorn: salty not sweet. Can’t get enough of the stuff. But I can appreciate that not everyone finds the smell as appealing as I do. The noise of rustling bags and loud chewers can be a bit irritating in the tenser parts of a film. And I’m sure that for the cinema employees it isn’t much fun to get it out of the carpet after each showing.

But Broch goes on to say: "There is no way in which it fits with the culturally sophisticated brand I wish to sell."

To me, this seems a little snobbish to say the least. After all, if the giant vats of popcorn sported at the local multiplex lack sophistication isn’t that more about presentation rather than the product itself?

Much to my relief, it seems that this anti-popcorn sentiment won’t sweep the messy snack from nation’s movie theatres.

Quite simply, popcorn is a goldmine for cinemas. With moviegoers paying a fiver for a carton of those tasty popped kernels, the cinemas can purportedly make as much as 90 pence for every pound charged. With mark-ups like that, I think that I’ll be free to chow-down on my favourite salty snack to my heart’s content. 

See The Telegraph’s full article here.

Katy Humphries, Deputy Editor


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