Premium theater brand ArcLight Cinemas has announced what it calls a “year-long, multi-faceted program” known as POPPED, which is designed to redefine what the future of popcorn experiences can be. The program aims to introduce the chain’s guests to new popcorn flavors, product creations and events.
ArcLight has sought out the help of emerging culinary brands and award-winning chefs to facilitate the program, and says that it is once again disrupting the moviegoing industry by bringing new ideas about food experiences to customers. Partners include Mexican fast-casual restaurant group Tocaya Organica, non-alcoholic spirit brand Seedlip and Momofuku’s fried chicken concept Fuku. There will also be input from US chefs in all four ArcLight Cinemas markets, including Chef Abe Conlon of Fat Rice in Chicago, Chef Kwame Onwuachi of Kith/Kin in Washington, DC, Chef Karen Akunowicz of Fox & the Knife in Boston and Chef Jude Parra-Sickels of Majordomo in Los Angeles.
“When we started to look at popcorn and how its flavors and experiences haven’t changed much since the first Cretors popcorn carts were positioned outside cinemas in the 1920s, we knew it was time to innovate across the board,” said Vince Szwajkowski, Chief Marketing Officer, ArcLight Cinemas. “From our concessions and bars to our core operations, we’re offering guests a chance to get a taste for what the future of popcorn could be, such as popcorn-inspired non-alcoholic cocktails and new approaches to popcorn chicken. Throughout the year, roughly every quarter, we’ll feature a series of new collaborations with chefs and culinary brands, as well as introduce new innovations in sustainability and creative activations centering around popcorn,” Szwajkowski explained. “We are committed to pushing culinary boundaries.”
Rolling out this month, Tocaya Organica has developed a popcorn seasoning, a reimagined rendition of Mexican Street (pop)Corn and ArcLight will introduce organic corn kernels. At some sites, such as the ArcLight Cinemas location in La Jolla, CA, a popcorn cart will circulate between ArcLight Cinemas and Tocaya Organica. Seedlip, meanwhile, will provide popcorn-inspired non-alcoholic cocktails in 11 ArcLight sites with pop-up bars.
By April, the company will introduce its first sustainable packaging in the form of reusable popcorn tubs made of durable, washable silicone which can be collapsed for to carrying from home to theater and back again. Guests will receive $1 off a large popcorn purchase each time they bring a reusable popcorn tub to ArcLight locations.
In May, the chef collaboration will kick off. Custom flavors will be inspired by each chef’s signature cuisine. “An important goal for us is to continuously innovate and introduce our guests to new ideas and experiences, not just in film but also food,” explained Szwajkowski. “By partnering with these four chefs, nationally recognized for their innovative takes on cuisine, ArcLight Cinemas will be bringing new flavors and food trends to moviegoers, many of whom don’t have the opportunity to experience these great chefs’ cuisine.”