The End for popcorn in British cinemas: report

August 10, 2008 12:00 am

, LONDON, August 10 – The credits are rolling in Britain for the time-honoured cinematic tradition of munching popcorn at the movies — a newspaper reported Sunday that increasing numbers of cinemas are banning it.

A combination of health-conscious cinemagoers rejecting sugar-coated popcorn and disgust at its distinctive smell is steadily spelling "The End" for the snack in some arthouse cinema chains, the Observer reported.

It quoted Daniel Broch, the owner of the renowned Everyman cinema in London’s upmarket Hampstead district, who recently bought 17 more venues.

"I will de-popcorn every new venue I acquire," he said. "It has a disproportionate influence on the space in terms of its overwhelming smell, the cultural idea of it and the operational problems created by the mess it produces.

"I’m not saying no popcorn is better than popcorn," he added. "But I am saying there is no way in which it fits with the culturally sophisticated brand I wish to sell."

The Picturehouse Cinema, a chain of 19 cinemas across Britain, will experiment with popcorn-free screenings in September.

"Popcorn is a contentious issue. Lots of people absolutely hate it and have asked us to ban it, so we’re going to do exactly that," the group’s head of media, Gabriel Swartland, told the Observer.

"If it’s a success, and I’ve no reason to suspect it won’t be, we’ll roll it out across all our cinemas and make it a permanent fixture," said Swartland.

But other cinemas which tried to go popcorn-free found customers demanded it.

"Audiences in three venues… began asking for popcorn, so we provided it," said Richard Napper, the marketing director of the Curzon chain.


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