By Richard Lawrence-Allen
Last Saturday marked National Popcorn Day in the United States, and as our favourite movie night treat, we here at RSVP couldn’t help ourselves from joining in the fun. Nowadays there is no shortage of different types of snacks awaiting us when we head to the cinema and the choice is huge. However, most moviegoers agree that the one cinema concession that will always go hand in hand with the films they show is without a doubt, popcorn!
RSVP’s very own popcorn machine!
This wasn’t always the case though. Andrew Smith, author of Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn explains that “Movie theatres wanted nothing to do with popcorn, because they were trying to duplicate what was done in real theatres. They had beautiful carpets and rugs and didn’t want popcorn being ground into it.” Not only this, but proprietors also didn’t want the sound and smells of snacks distracting patrons from the films. Despite this, street vendors still opted to sell popcorn to audiences before a showing, much to the dismay of the business owners that wished to maintain a high-end feel to their venues and attract a higher-brow level of clientele. According to Smith, many theatres even resorted to posting signs at their cloakrooms asking customers to check their popcorn along with their coats! Sneaking food into cinemas is clearly not a modern invention!
Jonny gives us a classic ‘caught sneaking popcorn into the cinema’ pose in his great vintage look!
The Great Depression of the 1930s saw things begin to change, however. Popcorn was a cheap luxury which, despite the financial troubles of the time, most people could still afford, and the cinema provided an inexpensive diversion. The two seemed to complement each other marvellously, and as the popularity of the street vendors selling the snack soared, theatre owners could no longer ignore the financial appeal of the savoury treat. At first, theatre owners allowed popcorn vendors ‘lobby privileges’ for a daily fee, allowing the vendors into, or just outside the venue. Eventually, the movie theatre owners cut out the middleman and started selling popcorn directly and they watched their profits skyrocket. Popcorn kernels themselves were cheap and easy for purveyors to source and with a long shelf life, overheads were low.
Jokob puts the drama back into popcorn!
Now film and popcorn or inextricably linked; according to Smithsonian.com, movie theatres make an estimated 85% profit off of concession sales, which in turn constitute 46% of a theatre’s overall profits.
No one can resist the smell of freshly made popcorn!
Here at RSVP we love the cinema, and we love snacks even more, so to celebrate National Popcorn Day we broke out our very own popcorn machine and gave out free samples for the day. A well-fed staff is a happy staff! We hope everyone enjoyed their cinematic snack; who needs to see the movie when you’re too busy enjoying the popcorn!
The popcorn definitely put some smiles on these cheeky faces!