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A Theater Is Just Is Not A Theater, Unless You Have Popcorn

Entranceinto master theater.

So there you have it; your new home theater (or Home Cinema) all ready to go. You have the room built just like you would like it, all the new equipment is now installed, and you want to have that first movie party. But wait! Something is missing. Where is the popcorn?

When Brenda and I were planning our theater, we made sure popcorn of some sort was on the list. Ok, sure, it was made with a microwave and came in a bag. But come on, we all have to start somewhere right? Even our theater gear was like that. I started out long ago with a 52” Rear projection TV and a Dolby Digital Pro-Logic receiver. But the popcorn just could not be left out. So, as mentioned, we went out and bought a small popcorn machine (Aka Microwave) that would fit on shelf along with the small, collage type, refrigerator. There were had it, in all it’s limited glory, a snack bar ready for opening night.

Over the last few years with our Home Cinema, things changed. The room started to take on a look and feel that is needed to make the movie experience just that, an experience. We started looking for items here and their that would add to the cinema. Wall art, trays, sculptures, a marquee, poster frames, and even a “Now Playing” case stand. It is items like these that just add to your room. We found some of the items locally, but most were found on-line in the great electronic shopping mall we call the Internet.

Ok so you are that the point you are looking for something to make your cinema more of an experience. So let me see if I can be of help with locating some items you may desire.

First and foremost, you need to set the movie mood and how better to do that than add posters to your entrance way or in your room? A place with a very large selection of posters can be found at http://www.AllPosters.com. You will find past and upcoming movie posters to fit any taste. But remember you will need something to put these little mood setters in. Some of you may want to display them in just a standard snap-in frame, but for that special entranceway, you may just want a lit frame with the chase lights you see in actual movie Cineplex’s. For the frames, check out Home Theater Express (http://www.ht-express.com) and Home Theatre Interiors (http://hometheatreinteriors.com). You will find a large selection of different types at all price ranges.

It is hard to just point you to those sites for just poster frames, for you will see they sell other items that can help transform your room into a cinema. There is such a selection of items to choose from to help you in your quest. From wall art, the “Artisan Director Cut” is my favorite, to even soda fountains; you will find all kind of items for your needs. However, you may not want to forget that one little item, that DVD “Now Playing” marquee. For that and yet more unique items, be sure to stop in at Stargate Cinema (http://www.stargatecinema.com). They also have a selection of items and even a 3D poster frame that is backlit.

But let’s get back to what is really important shall we? Popcorn! It is that special smell that will really get the experience going for your guest as soon as they walk into your home. It can be microwave popcorn, air popped, or the best way, with a nifty and great looking actual popcorn machine. There is nothing like an actual popcorn machine to set the mood with not only that special smell, but also give that extra room appeal with the look that only it can provide.

There are a lot of popcorn machines out in the market. They come in different sizes and, of course, with different options. 4 oz., 6 oz, and 8 oz. are the units usually used in the home. You can find them in an antique look or even modern with a neon sign. They are made to go right on a counter top or you can add a popcorn cart to the unit so it can stand on it’s own. No matter what you choose, you will find that the addition of a machine like this will add to your cinema and make it something even more special.

But one of the best parts of the popcorn machines is that they are a synch to use because you purchase pre-measured popcorn packets. These packets include the oil (in many different styles from corn to sunflower); the salt, and of course the pre-measured popcorn. It is as easy as heat, poor, pop, and serve. Speaking of serving, you also of course can buy the same popcorn buckets or bags you received at your local movie house. Thus again even adding more to the “affect”. But wait, there’s more! You could go as far as even picking up one of the “fake butter” dispensers. That’s right, “squirt”, “squirt” onto the popcorn the same “butter” that you again enjoy in your local theater. Boy, are we talking some good fun now. In case you did not notice, the above-mentioned sites also carry the items I just spoke about…so enjoy your browsing.

All in all your personal home theater, cinema, is what you make it. You can do as little or as much as you care. Remember always though, this room was your dream, your vision, so be sure to make as such.

Comments (18)

Our big popcorn machine was a gift from my father-in-law. It was on my radar, but I couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on a $300 purchase (and I didn't want to compromise on a smaller machine).

I arrived home from work one Friday to find an enormous box on my front porch. Bingo.

And you know what? I underestimated how important that darn popcorn machine is. Just the smell of the popcorn... the smell... It's an essential part of the theater immersion experience.

Those pre-measured packs mentioned in the article (Carnival Supply Store) taste so much better than any of the combinations of oils and popping corns we experimented with. All our experimentation was a waste of time. Pre-mix packs all the way.
I "stole" our machine from a craigslist ad. I agree with the above premix packs cannot be beat.

You don't need to spend a ton of money to get good popcorn. I bought a $30 popcorn maker from Walmart. You add the oil, corn, and watch the little arms slowly spin the popcorn around. Just like the stovetop except zero burns and all the popcorn gets popped. Add some butter and Spike seasoning (a trick I learned from a local indie theater) and you have just made the best popcorn ever.
Which Spike seasoning? Original?
Why would you put one inside your theater? Having it in the theater itself is a needless distraction. Theaters don't have concessions inside the auditoriums. Adding a popcorn maker inside your viewing room won't make the viewing experience any more authentic than the pool table in the picture. Make your popcorn in the kitchen, carry it in and leave the home theater for watching the movie.
Hi...Not sure whom you were replying to...but if to me, the above photo is of the outside of our theater. You can see the popcorn machine in the corner outside the theater.

In our last theater, or should I say our first build, we had a lot or room in the rear of the room, thus a small popcorn machine was placed and was not a distraction at all as it was set back in a little cove.
I worked in a movie theater in high school. We could eat all the popcorn and drink all the soda we wanted. I don't really like popcorn much anymore (but surprisingly, I still love Mountain Dew Code Red). Cleaning the popcorn popper was just the WORST though. Granted, it was a much larger machine than what a person would put in their home.
I have seen photos and articles with the popcorn machine inside the theater and I appreciate the clarification that yours is outside. I'm in agreement on the "availability" of popcorn for a movie and perhaps I read something into your article that wasn't there. There is no argument here, just really expressing an opinion on the location.
I totally agree. I would not want a "light" distraction in my theater that's for sure. So I know where you're coming from. Then again it also could be the hunger from the smells that come with it as that could also be a problem. LOL

Thank you
My machine is kept outside the theater. (This thread is taking a left turn.) Light concerns.

I've never seen a picture of a popcorn machine inside a theater unless it was part of a bar built into the back of a theater. If you are going to build a full bar in the back of your theater, then you're angling for a different kind of experience that isn't focused recreating a cinema immersion experience.

This thesis will be disputed in 4... 3... 2...
My dedicated basement theater room is L-shaped, 25' on one side and 32' on the other, about 600 sq ft. The viewing area is in 25' leg of the L, and my Concession area is in the 32' leg - wide open, but my popcorn machine sits on a glass candy display case near the back of the concession area (next to the keg fridge!), so the light is not really a problem... I actually use it as a "nite-lite" for guests to see their way to the restroom in the dark, which is in that same back corner of the room. If I want/need it darker in the room, I just turn the bulb slightly out of it's socket. I eventually will rewire the light onto a separate switch, as it's factory-wired on the same switch as the warmer element under the tray.

I have no issues with the popcorn machine being in the theater room - everyone loves the smell of the popcorn filling the room, seating area included, and suprisingly, the smell does not linger after cleanup - I was always afraid my theater room would permanently smell like popcorn, but it doesn't. I also bought my popper locally from Craigslist - found a $600 commercial Gold Medal popper that was used only once, for just $100... always looking for good bargains like that!
I think I would like that full bar+popcorn maker in my home cinema, should I ever design one. For the record, I have been to "VIP" theaters that actually have a bar right outside with beer, drinks, sushi, the works! All can be enjoyed once inside on comfy reclining seats with a small wood-simulating table-top to one of your sides... I miss that experience: my cold beer mug and sushi while viewing a movie! Let alone that popcorn...
i have a whirley pop but want a real machine so i dont have to decide between hot and chewy or cold and crunchy
After reading this I came very close to buying a popcorn popper for my HT man cave thinking it would be a great upgrade for that movie theater feel. Then as I was walking to the check out, it occurred to me that my man cave would smell like popcorn 24/7 and that I really don't like pop corn that much. I put it back. I'll stick with chips.
As you wish, Vico.

But, in point of fact, my theater area really doesn't smell like popcorn 24/7. The smell is gone within a couple hours of me cooling the machine.

I had the same concern, as I sleep in the downstairs bedroom (near the theater) often. I wondered how weird it would be to swim in the waft of popcorn all the time. But... it doesn't work that way.

Alas, I have done what I can do to proselytize the Church of Popped Corn. Ye shall not be a convert.

it'll be a while before I buy one. till then it's pam spray in a lunch bag and orville's pop corn from a microwave.
Has anybody stuck gum under their chairs yet?
AVS › AVS Articles › A Theater Is Just Is Not A Theater, Unless You Have Popcorn