Food by VICE

This Man Is Trying to Ban Popcorn from Movie Theaters

The 39-year-old radio presenter from Newcastle, England has done the unthinkable. He has started a petition to ban the sale of popcorn in British movie theaters.

by Alex Swerdloff
Jan 15 2016, 3:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Wahlander

There are some things in this world that were just meant to go together. Coffee and cigarettes. Valium and white wine. Shia LaBeouf and the Disney Channel. Need we even mention Japanese porn and alien tentacles?

Alas, there are those on this planet we call home who would argue that there is simply no such thing as a match made in heaven. Case in point: Mike Shotton and movie theater popcorn.

The 39-year-old author and radio presenter from Newcastle, England has done the unthinkable. He has started a petition to ban the sale of popcorn in British movie theaters.

Is Shotton serious? Apparently so. He told the South West News Service that his animosity for movie theater popcorn began in the 90s, when he saw Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in theaters. However, it wasn't until Shotton went to theaters to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens that he really popped.

It turns out that Shotton hates movie theater popcorn for a very specific reason: "The noise is something that's always bothered me, ever since I was a little kid." He explains, "I'm the kind of person that if I hear something in the background, I focus on it until that's all I can hear."

Since Shotton's personal D-Day, he has apparently gather 124 signatures: "As the petition is on grounds of noise pollution, with enough signatures it would be officially looked at as an item for monitoring by the environmental health department."

Too bad Shotton's personal war against popcorn has also given rise to a counter petition of pro-popcorn enthusiasts. The rival petition has so far received 102 signatures.

Petitions are serious business in the UK. According to the Express, a petition started by a UK resident that garners 10,000 signatures gets a mandatory official response from the House of Commons. Not that Shotten's petition—or the counter-petition—appears to be getting anything close to even 10,000 signatures. In fact, Shotten and the pro-popcorn petitioners struck a deal: the side with the most signatures by January 11 had to withdraw their petition. And so the popcorn faction did. As a result, Shotten posted this on his Facebook page: "I WAS VICTORIOUS in the WAR of petitions."

Still, it's unlikely that movie-theater owners will shut down their popcorn-poppers and go quietly into the night. In fact, movie theaters don't make much money from showing movies, because the movie studios eat up most of that revenue. Instead, they make money on the overpriced stuff they sell at the concession stands—popcorn being numero uno. As one veteran theater owner told, in order to make money, theater owners have "left the movie business and we're now in the popcorn business."

The bottom line is that movie theaters and popcorn were just meant to be together—the rancid smell of aging faux butter and the lack of audio fidelity caused by it be damned.

And consider this: Has no one ever told Shotton that movie theater popcorn even inspired its own Jelly Belly flavor? That's like the culinary equivalent of winning the Pulitzer!

We're pretty sure movie theater popcorn's not going anywhere, anytime soon. Some folks just want to watch the world burn.

Movie theaters
mike shotton
food ban