General Question

occ's avatar

When and why did popcorn become the snack served at all movie theaters?

Asked by occ (4051points) July 21st, 2010

Just wondering how popcorn came to be the ubiquitous movie theater snack. I know it’s cheap, which makes it appealing to the theater owners because of the high profit margin, but who started the idea of popcorn and movies, when did it become widespread, and how did it end up at almost every movie theater in the country (and other countries as well). And while we’re on the topic – why is it that we’re allowed to eat in movie theaters (and eat a crunchy loud snack at that) while it’s considered extremely inappropriate to eat in any other kind of theater or indoor performance venue?

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8 Answers

marinelife's avatar

“Popcorn was first served in movie theaters in 1912, so it was actually in theaters before full-length films.” Kidzworld

“Some years later, when street vendors started setting up outside movie theatres, they were not welcome, at least as far as the theatre owners were concerned. They thought the vendors were a distraction.

But movie goers didn’t agree. They went out on the sidewalk in droves to buy bags of yummy popcorn before going back inside to see the movie.

The Movie Snack Bar Is Invented

Movie theatre owners have always had a keen eye for profits. So a few of the smarter ones asked the vendors to come inside and split whatever they made from their popcorn sales with the theatre. Of course it wasn’t long until the theatre owners realized they could set up their own popcorn popper and send the vendor packing… And that’s apparently how the movie snack bar came to be.” Buzzle

Your_Majesty's avatar

This is the history of popcorn.

The only reason I can think about why people don’t allow food other than popcorn in theater is that popcorn is a handy solid food,not wet so it won’t dirt the sofa(although I saw some people can drink inside a theater). I don’t exactly know why since I can take some small snack(other than popcorn,since I don’t really like it) in my handbag and eat it inside a theater without any consequences,I can bring my bottle drink too and many people bring their own food/drink from outside,no one complain,if someone trash around it has been the responsibility of the ‘cleaner’/theater employee.

stracto's avatar

i think right when movies started

Keysha's avatar

@Doctor_D shows a newish trend… meals IN the theater. :)

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve often wondered why they don’t simply put movie screens in restaurants.

tifa's avatar

….i don’t know when…but they learned that it was cheap to make and made people thirsty so they’d buy soda… perfect thatre snack.

gorillapaws's avatar

Just remember that movie popcorn is HORRIBLE for you. Here’s an article:

…a Regal medium popcorn—20 cups—contains 1,200 calories, 60 grams of saturated fat, and 980 milligrams of sodium. That’s without the buttery topping that can be drizzled—or poured—on the popcorn, which adds another 200 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat per 1.5 tablespoons.” (emphasis mine)

Great question.

JLeslie's avatar

@occ GQ

I almost never buy any food or drink at the theatre, total rip off. It’s just two hours, why do people have to eat? I might bring in my own candy once in a while, but rarely.

@Doctor_D The theatres I have gone to since I was little girl offered candy also, and where I lived in FL most theatres had nachos, and hot dogs, and more. In fact the Muvico has a restaurant in it. Similar to what @Keysha pointed out.

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