How Popcorn Became the Movie Theater Staple

by Priscilla Schrubb on April 27, 2022

Is there any pairing better than movies and popcorn? We might be a little biased, but we think popcorn is the perfect snack for any movie! And we can’t help but wonder, how did our favorite treat become a theater staple? 

Let’s take it all the way back to the late 1840’s.

Popcorn was a favorite snack among Americans. It was so popular that it was added to the Dictionary of Americanisms in 1848 and could be found at almost every event imaginable! From fairs to circuses, Americans couldn’t get enough!

But early theaters? Not so much. 

Because the early films were silent and theaters were designed luxuriously (like their stage counterparts) the movie theaters of old didn’t want the mess that popcorn could bring. Early theaters were hoping to attract a high-end clientele that favored beautiful rugs and carpets that they didn’t want ruined by spills or trash.

However when they introduced sound in 1927, movie-going exploded! With a wider audience, the movie industry grew and so did the opportunity to make a profit. Especially now that the sound of the film muffled the sound of the snacks. 

The demand for popcorn was initially filled by street vendors that would sell to passersby and moviegoers alike (much to the chagrin of theater owners who had to ask patrons to check their popcorn with their coats). As it became clear that the snack was here to stay, some theaters leased space within their lobbies where street vendors could come inside and sell their concessions. 

It wasn’t long before theater owners realized that concessions were key in keeping their profits going, especially during hard social and economic times. From the financial struggles of the Great Depression to the sugar shortages of World War II, popcorn was the staple that gave Americans something to snack on while enjoying themselves at the theater!

And so popcorn became the movie-going snack! No matter whether you’re enjoying a movie cuddled up at home or watching a blockbuster on the big screen, you can’t go wrong with America’s go-to concession. So be sure you stop by and grab your favorite Popcorn Friday flavor, like our sweet and savory Bulverde Blend or our classic Theater Butter before heading over to the Bulverde Community Park on May 13th! 

That’s right! Bulverde Movies in the Park is back with Encanto! Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy a night out with this Oscar Winning Disney classic. Sing along under the stars Friday, May 13! The movie starts at dusk and there will be plenty of concessions to keep everyone snacking all night!


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