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How Popcorn Became a Movie Snack Staple

May 9th, 2019How Popcorn Became a Movie Snack Staple

When we think about the movies, we also think about the smell of freshly popped popcorn as soon as we walk into the lobby. The favorite pastime and flavorful snack go hand in hand, especially at AMC. Director of Culinary Jessica James will tell you, “We take our popcorn very seriously.”

It’s hard to imagine there was ever a time when popcorn wasn’t associated with movies, but the popular concession was actually banned from theatres at one point. Here’s a brief history of how popcorn became a movie snack staple — and how AMC became the #1 seller of movie theatre popcorn in the world.

A Pop of History

During the 16th century, popcorn was used in ceremonies and consumed by Aztec Indians. But we promised a brief history, so let’s jump forward to the mid-1800s: when popcorn became a popular snack food in North America, particularly at carnivals and fairs. By the late-1800s, the first steam-powered popcorn maker was invented, and street vendors could sell the popped kernels by the bagful almost anywhere (emphasis on almost).

At that time, and up until the Great Depression, movie theatres wouldn’t allow popcorn in their lobbies or auditoriums — it was deemed too messy, too noisy and too “lowbrow” for their “sophisticated” (literate) clientele. But that changed when the talkies arrived in 1927, and theatres welcomed a wider audience seeking affordable entertainment … and snacks.

Popcorn sales soared, and the rest is history: By 1945, more than half of the popcorn eaten in the U.S. was sold at movie theatres — and the trend hasn’t stopped. AMC currently sells more than 52 million bags of popcorn each year.

#1 Seller of Movie Theatre Popcorn

Of all the movie theatre companies in the world, AMC sells the most popcorn. Every day, we freshly pop about 35 tons of kernels of AMC Perfectly Popcorn™.

What makes our popcorn perfect? AMC hand-selects our own unique mixture of seeds that are meticulously cared for at family-owned farms in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. “We’re so proud of our product,” James said. “As a team, we work hard to ensure the perfect bite every time” — from the “butterfly” shape of the kernels, to the light and fluffy texture, to the irresistible savory flavor.

If you’re craving AMC Perfectly Popcorn right now, browse movie showtimes at a theatre near you and pick up the delicious snack at concessions.

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