No Popcorn!? Why Capital Region Moviegoers May Have To Do Without
It's a time-honored summer tradition: sinking into your plush stadium seat in a cool movie theater with a big bag of popcorn - the irresistible aroma of popped kernels and butter wafting up until you dig in and almost have the bag finished by the end of previews. But this summer? You may have to do without.
It's hard to imagine seeing a blockbuster without popcorn, but it may become a reality, affecting the draw of long-awaited releases like Jurassic World: Dominion, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Minions: The Rise of Gru.
So why could Capital Region theaters be running out of popped gold?
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the United States is facing a nationwide popcorn shortage. It's just becoming too expensive for farmers to grow. Annual yields are getting lower and lower, as the time, care, and supply price tag it takes to feed America's theaters gets higher and higher.
It takes a special fertilizer to properly grow the corn needed, and that fertilizer's cost has tripled over lockdown - leading many farmers to switch to lower-maintenance soybeans. Add that to a trucker shortage, meaning deliveries are stymied and it could turn a summer romcom into a horror for theater chains and movie fans.
And even the theaters that can get their hands on product are facing another popcorn problem: the drip-proof linings that keep all that delectable butter and oil on your corn and off your lap are also in short supply. This means many theaters have to spring for more expensive plastic and metal containers - for which the increased cost will be passed directly to the consumer.
People clearly want to get back to theaters and bring their wallets with them. Top Gun: Maverick broke Memorial Day Weekend records with a $156m opening. But with soda flavors already running out for weeks and nacho trays and popcorn bags getting harder to find, its a big speedbump for an industry desperate to get moviegoers, especially families with kids, back to cinemas and away from streaming after the pandemic.
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