First came sound. Then came 3D and even seats that shake you just as the alien is getting ready to pounce. All great stuff, but another great cinematic hurdle has just been crossed — giving the moviegoer custom snacks inspired by food found in key scenes in order to enhance the experience.
Starting last May, audiences at London's Electric Cinema could choose to enjoy "Edible Cinema," where munchies are coordinated with Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. The moviegoers were given numbered packages prior to the film and during key scenes, large cards with numbers would prompt the audience what to sample.
Imagine pine-smoked popcorn to go with scenes in the Spanish woodland or a succulent carbonated red grape to match when Ofelia eats the enchanted one in the film. There's even cocktails, with a pipette of medicinal tasting gin sitting in for the sedative given to Ofelia's mother.
Now that's my kind of movie experience!
Each snack may not be to everyone's liking, but the point is not just about snacking and more about enhancing the experience and connectedness with the film and its characters.
Experience organizer Polly Betton and experimental food designer Andrew Stellitano are the team behind the Edible Cinema. Betton explained their goal to The Guardian:
"I was most concerned with making it interesting. I don't think you want to please everyone with this type of thing. Having said that, the next event will see the eating experience more carefully embedded into the film, with more ambient aromas and a few extra tricks."
It should be interesting to see what film comes next as the combined movie/snacking event likely works best in films loaded with ambiance.
Of course with this kind of culinary experience added to the film, the tickets are a bit more pricey — the equivalent of about $35 USD. But, when you do the math and consider the cost of a soda and popcorn added to your ticket price at a regular film and you are probably coming out about even financially.
For the record, I love this idea and even if the food designer throws something wacky in, I would expect that from the experience (can you imagine what you would be served at a showing of Aliens?). The question is, could larger movie theaters create this kind of boutique experience for adventurous viewers?
Let's hope we see at least see a few theaters giving it a try.