Popcorn and the movie theater are such a perfect pair, it’s hard to remember a time when they weren’t so intertwined. But this pairing actually took some time.
Popcorn for the poor
Popcorn started selling as a street snack in the early 1990s. Since it was so incredibly cheap to make (about 5-10 per bag back then), it was considered a lower class snack. It was mostly sold in fairs, carnivals, and similar events but not in the movie theater.
Not high-class enough for the movies
Back then, movie theaters had a pretty elitist state of mind back then. They were looking to have a high-society image similar to that of regular theaters, which were considered a high-class pastime. Having a cheap, messy, low-class snack in such a high-class cultural institution was something they couldn’t allow.
Just good business
When movie theaters refused to sell popcorn, some recognized the gap in the market and opened independent popcorn stands outside of movie theaters. Moviegoers would simply get their popcorn outside until the theaters realized what was going on and saw the business potential. Ultimately, they started selling their own popcorn and watch the big bucks coming in.
How do the kernels pop? We’re happy you asked. Kernels have microscopic little droplets of water in them. When the water hats and turns to vapor, they push on the inside of the kernel and create a tiny explosion that makes it pop.