Love it or hate it because of its smell or the noise it makes while munching on it, popcorn has become an integral part of the cinema experience over time. But since when do fans of the seventh art munch on popped corn while making a movie?
To find out, one must first go back to the origins of corn. The earliest ears were found in western Peru almost 6000 years ago. Corn was the primary source of food for Native Americans. By using fire-heated stones and placing the kernels in metal or clay pots, they developed the first method of bursting and invented popcorn.
Nevertheless, it was not until the 19th century that popcorn became truly popular. The first popcorn machine was built in 1885 in the United States. The popcorn lovers would take their time tasting it in recreational places or simply in the streets. While cinemas were becoming more numerous in the early twentieth century, popcorn merchants were beginning to settle naturally near their entrances. Nevertheless, popcorn hadn’t become a staple in the dark rooms yet, since it was intended for a well-off clientele at the time of silent movies.
A late arrival for popcorn in Europe
It was with the Great Depression of 1929 and the arrival of the talking cinema that the popcorn really found its place in the center of popular culture. US theatres attracted 90 million viewers per week in 1930 so cinema owners realised they can produce and sell popcorn themselves. Fifteen years later, half of the popcorn consumed in the United States was consumed in cinemas.
One had to wait until the 90s to see popcorn land in French cinemas. Since then, this delicacy is associated with the seventh art and has found its place and its fans in our country, and is an almost integral part of the decoration of our cineplexes.