Opinion: Popcorn is essential in any movie viewing experience

By Farah Bassyouni Feb 25, 2022
Image by Liam Killian
Image by Liam Killian

Popcorn is an essential ingredient for any movie session. With life being so difficult lately as people slowly make their way back to a new “normal,” they have found ways to comfort themselves while stuck at home. One way was through food, and specifically, I think, popcorn. 

As many are aware, movie theaters offer popcorn as a delicacy with self-serve stations where movie-goers are free to add as much butter and salt that they desire. During the start of the pandemic, with theaters having been closed for so long people got used to making their own popcorn at home, allowing them the opportunity to customize their popcorn even more with different seasonings and maybe even some candy to top it off. I have found that coming out of lockdown people have gotten even pickier about their foods they were forced to make at home, specifically popcorn. 

There is something so blissful about sitting down to watch your favorite show or movie and smelling the yummy popcorn popping in the microwave. One would think that everyone pretty much makes their popcorn the same way-with a bag that you microwave. I didn’t learn this until I lived in a house with 40 other people but it is rare to find someone that makes popcorn the way you do. And funny enough, everyone wants some as soon as the first person starts making it as the TV goes on and the lights get dimmed. 

As everyone sits down to watch something, not everyone will come prepared, but every single time someone makes popcorn, there is at least one if not more people that are compelled to make their own batch or want to eat some of their friend’s popcorn. So what’s the big deal and why do people always seem to want popcorn when they are watching a show or movie? Is it because it is a comfort thing? Are they just hungry?

 I’m convinced that we have been conditioned to want popcorn when we watch movies. We are creatures of habit, and thus tend to repeat ourselves, especially when things are enjoyable or beneficial in one way or another. In the case of popcorn, we are conditioned to want a snack to mindlessly consume while we are watching a movie. It makes complete sense coming from the theater’s point of view. If they can get their customers to buy popcorn at every film they go see, not only does the theater make more money but the customer will want popcorn outside the theater too because it has a positive relationship with the customer of an enjoyable experience at the theater watching a movie. 

Popcorn is essential because it is associated with watching movies and if you don’t have it while watching a movie then it is almost impossible to recreate the movie theater experience. Some people even go as far as to buy couches that are similar to those at the theaters and buy popcorn machines that pop the popcorn just like they do at the theaters. If people are going as far as to spending hundreds of dollars on furniture it just makes sense that they would also try to recreate the popcorn that they love from the theater. 

The popcorn that one makes at home is just more personalized to that person’s preferences, while at the end of the day it is still compared to the one of a kind flavor of movie theater popcorn that few can replicate outside the theater.

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