Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Lily from , . Lily Wonders, “why do we eat popcorn when we watch movies?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Lily !
If you and a group of friends head to the movie theater, you can probably count on needing a bit of time to discuss the pros and cons of the various movies being shown. After finally settling on a movie to see, the debate doesn't end there, though.
Once you buy your movie ticket, it's time to step inside and come face to face with the really hard decisions: which snacks to buy! Today's modern theaters feature a wide variety of foods and drinks. You can find everything from soda and slushies to candy, pretzels, and even pizza.
Of course, if you're a true fan of movie snacks, there's probably one thing you've been looking forward to — and smelling — since you walked into the theater: popcorn! There's nothing quite like the salty, buttery deliciousness that awaits you in the form of a big tub of movie theater popcorn.
Although popcorn and movies go hand in hand today, popcorn didn't start out as the movie theater snack of choice. Although it was very popular at street fairs, circuses, and carnivals, the earliest movie theater owners avoided popcorn.
They wanted to attract sophisticated viewers like the theaters that showed live dramas. After all, who would want to listen to a bunch of people crunching on messy popcorn that would just end up all over the seats and floors?
Street vendors began selling cheap bags of popcorn outside of movie theaters. Popcorn became a popular snack with moviegoers, and theater owners began to allow vendors to sell popcorn inside theaters for a small fee.
Before long, these same owners figured out that they could make and sell popcorn themselves and reap a large profit, since popcorn was very inexpensive to make. Experts believe that selling snacks, especially popcorn, helped many theaters to survive the Great Depression.
Popcorn continued to become more and more popular. During World War II, sugar shortages made sugary snacks, such as candy and soda, hard to come by at times. There was no shortage of popcorn, though, and the popular snack strengthened its hold on the movie theater.
Today, it is unimaginable that you could walk into a movie theater and not find popcorn. Theater owners depend upon popcorn now more than ever to make money.
Popcorn is still cheap to make, and it's easy to sell for a nice profit. Some experts estimate movie theaters make as much as an 85% profit on concession sales. Those profits can make up nearly half of a theater's total profit.