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May 9, 2024 64 mins

These pieces of movie merchandise are far more than a way to hold popcorn. Anney and Lauren dig into the history and popularity of popcorn buckets.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:09):
Hello, and welcome to Saber production of iHeartRadio. I'm Annie Reach.

Speaker 2 (00:12):
And I'm lone Vocal bamb and today we have an
episode for you about popcorn buckets. And it is joyous.
It is a joyous fun. It is so weird and
so fun. I am so excited that you suggested this
for the important national holiday of May fourth, as in

May the fourth be with you.

Speaker 1 (00:36):
Yes, Star Wars Day, we're a little late, but in fairness,
and I know this annoy is some of my friends.
But there's Star Wars Day, then there's Revenge of the fifth,
and then there's Revenge of the sixth, and then now
there's just this is the May, and then obviously May

twenty fifth is a big Star Wars Day, being when
a new Hope came out in nineteen seventy seven. So
I feel like we have some wiggle room. Yeah, I
have someom Like with.

Speaker 2 (01:07):
Any birthday, I think it can be extended from a
week to a month, depending on exactly how excited you
are about celebrating. And you are always excited about celebrating. Certainly, yes,
I am, yes.

Speaker 1 (01:23):
I am.

Speaker 2 (01:23):
I am like on a scale from one to Annie
slightly less excited, but still psyched, you know, like I'm
into it.

Speaker 1 (01:32):
Yes, it's funny because I have a friend of mine
who's like, like into Star Wars but not really, and
she just sent me a message and she was like,
I just am curious because you make it sound as
though you don't do Star Wars stuff all of the

rest of the year. So what you know, your acting
is though this is a very special occasion. I was like,
it is because it's made the fourth and I can
make funds, and I have friends who might not normally
be into it all of a sudden wanting to hang

out and watch Star Wars with me. But fair point,
fair point. I mean that's.

Speaker 2 (02:22):
That's the whole that's the whole thing. Like Star Wars,
it's always Star Wars Day in your heart, and that's
that's fine. Yeah, this is true. Thank you Lauren here,
thank you of course, thank you. Uh yeah, we should
stay not a sponsor.

Speaker 1 (02:37):
No no, no, nothing we mentioned in here is going
to be a current sponsor. If we would, we would
say it is.

Speaker 2 (02:46):
M h.

Speaker 1 (02:47):
If you want to hear a whole podcast about ads,
I've actually done one. Now cool, but we have a
dynamic ads so sometimes it changes, but not currently. Nope, nope,
we're just talking about it because we're excited about it
and thought it was strange and funny. Yes, yeah, yes,

you can see our past episodes, our past episode on
popcorn and on a why array of Star Wars topics. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (03:20):
Well, this is one of the yearly holidays that I
think we really rally around UNA, So.

Speaker 1 (03:27):
This is true. This is true. Also, one of the
reasons I suggested this, which I Lauren, I apologize. I
sent a million ideas. I sent a lot of ideas
for this.

Speaker 2 (03:42):
I appreciated it, you know.

Speaker 1 (03:46):
But one of the reasons I sent this one is
both we are going to talk about some very Star
Wars specific popcorn buckets, but Star Wars is widely regarded
as like one one of the first examples of a
summer blockbuster tradition. You can listen to my movie Crush
I did with Chuck about Empire Strikes Back, and he

said Jaws, But I don't think Jaws is the same
because you didn't come back the next three years. For
Jaws two, it was New Hope, Empire strike Back, return
the Jedda. It was like a tradition, and it was
the in May you knew these were coming. Jaws was

definitely a blockbuster, but I don't think it was like
the blockbuster tradition of that. You can disagree with me
if you like.

Speaker 2 (04:36):
I would, I would say I would say it was
probably like the first blockbuster, but right, it wasn't a
thing that people were that's about for a number of
years every year, yes, or was it every year?

Speaker 1 (04:48):
Sure? It was every three years. Yeah. I like cracking
my neck like I'm getting into my getting into my zone. Okay,
So I did have I know we've talked about this before.
I was nine years old when Phantom Menace came out.
I was the right age. This is the twenty fifth
anniversary of Phantom Menace, so it's playing in theaters again.

Oh that's a weird thought. But I did have a
lot of the cups and collectibles from that, including a
popcorn bucket. There is a new popcorn bucket, which we'll
talk about an or later for Phantom Menace. This is
another thing we'll also discuss. But Star Wars has a

lot of gets a lot of credit and blame depending
on merchandising for movies. But I was big into this.
I had a Shrek popcorn bucket, in which I captured
a very big spider. And I say this because it
was a terrifyingly big spider. Its legs touched thee my heck, okay,

well cool, So that's the Shrek popcorn bucket. Will always
do that spider bucket. I had an Austin powered plopcorn
bucket okay, that I use for all kinds of things.
I would say I have more cups, though I generally
went more for the like drink cups. But I did
go for the buckets when my parents allowed.

Speaker 2 (06:21):
I do not to my per I cannot remember ever
having had a collectible bucket.

Speaker 1 (06:31):
For popcorn.

Speaker 2 (06:32):
I'm old enough that some of the like McDonald's Happy
Meal like Halloween buckets were a thing that I think
I had at least one of. I'm not saying that
I'm bucket adverse, I mean, you know, sure, I'm just
I think I was just sort of out of the
necessary bucket range by the time they got to be

like really a thing.

Speaker 1 (06:55):
Yes, I had in my favor. I loved popcorn, but
my dad also really loved popcorn, and a lot of those,
like those collectible popcorn buckets, you could get the like
free refills or like maybe one dollar refills, so he
might go for I could maybe convince him, huh, get

like another before the trailers are over. That was our thing.
You eat the whole popcorn bucket. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (07:23):
Yeah, to be to be fair, my dad was not
a theater goer. He did not enjoy to be in
a movie theater. He wanted to watch things at home.
That was his preferred experience. And so yeah, so I
so I write like like I didn't have like a
family tradition of that kind of merch or purchasing.

Speaker 1 (07:42):
Yeah. Well, certainly one popcorn bucket, which we will talk about,
has made a lot of waves, and that is the
Doom two popcorn buckets. Yeppers had a whole skit on
SNL about it, and in that skit, which is a

music video, they say, this is a real thing. You
can look it up. And when I was watching it,
I didn't know what was a real thing. Oh wow,
And I was like what And I looked it up
and I continue confused.

Speaker 2 (08:20):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, I knew I had. I had
seen it before I saw the send up of it
on SNL. But I can't say that I was less
confused than you were.

Speaker 1 (08:36):
Honestly, this episode could have just been quotes from people
trying to understand that popcorn bucket.

Speaker 2 (08:41):
I love it, I love everything surrounding it.

Speaker 1 (08:46):
It's really good. We've got some at least. Yeah. I
guess that does bring us to our question popcorn buckets.
What are they?

Speaker 2 (09:02):
Well, popcorn bucket is a type of container meant to
hold popped corn so that it can be carried and consumed. However,
the fact that, like we humans, get up to a
lot of stuff means that bucket is a truly insufficient
term for the range of vessels which we use in

this way. They can be made from anything from coded
paperboard to flexible plastics, to hard plastics to metals to
I don't know, basket materials lined with fabric. And yes,
they can simply hold popcorn, but these days they are
a serious marketing tool and a licensing opportunity for film

studios and other entertainment companies. They can range from like
a simple box with an open top to a plastic
canister with a handle to basically a big, old hollow
action figure and beyond. So a popcorn bucket is anywhere
from like a serviceable one time use object to a

collectible to a fashion accessory or like piece of home
decor what on earth are we doing on this planet, y'all?

Speaker 1 (10:16):
What's going on?

Speaker 2 (10:19):
A popcorn bucket is an item of, as it turns out,
infinite imagination and possibility, and you can hypothetically eat.

Speaker 1 (10:30):
Popcorn out of it hypothetically hypothetically.

Speaker 2 (10:38):
Uh yeah, We're gonna get into a lot of examples
of different types in the history section. That's that's pretty much.
That's my summary.

Speaker 1 (10:45):
That's that's what it is. I do love the discourse
around like bucket doesn't encompass anymore what we're talking.

Speaker 2 (10:57):
Yeah, the I think the terminology preferred in the industry
is in fact popcorn vessel or popcorn container.

Speaker 1 (11:04):
Yeah, okay, okay, well what about the nutrition.

Speaker 2 (11:11):
Don't eat the popcorn bucket. I've literally never even for
like Wonka, they didn't have an edible one. Don't donate
the popcorn bucket. I had a kind of depressing fact
in here about how the size of popcorn buckets really
does influence the amount of popcorn that one is willing
to eat, even if one does not actually enjoy the
popcorn that one is eating. But suffice it to say

that portion sizes are worth watching and the treats are nice.
And if you are going to a heck and movie
and you want to enjoy more popcorn than is perhaps
physically advisable, I want you to have that nice time.
I want you to feel dehydrated and ruin your dinner.
If that is what you're into, that is frequently what

I'm into. And so if you also vaguely enjoy that
negative sensation that I want you to enjoy, just know.

Speaker 1 (12:06):
What you're getting into.

Speaker 2 (12:08):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, self awareness always.

Speaker 1 (12:11):
Definitely oh wow. A lot of things about self awareness
in here. So we do have some numbers for you.
According to a twenty twenty three report from Theater Chain AMC,
that same year, food and beverage revenues amounted to one

point sixty seven billion dollars and other revenue came out
to four hundred and fifty two million dollars. Movie themed products,
including popcorn buckets, made up fifty four million dollars of
that other category, and it highlighted something interesting this report

did because while movie theater admissions revenue was still down
from pre pandemic club by almost twenty percent, the food
and beverage revenue was about the same, suggesting that less
people are going to the theater, but they are spending
more on stuff while they are there.

Speaker 2 (13:14):
Yeah, yeah, it's it's super interesting because like, yes, movie
theaters make a good profit margin on stuff like soda
and popcorn, which you know have very low materials costs,
but once you add in theater overhead, you know, staff
and machine maintenance and all that kind of stuff, it's
really only like a couple bucks profit per items sold.

But the fancier versions of buckets on the market that
are that are really more like giant hollow action figures
retail for like upwards of thirty bucks a pop, which
is a solid five to ten dollars markup. So if
you're a movie theater, all you need is like storage
space and the ability to buy buy in on the
initial cost, right, and like a willingness to bet that

you're actually going to sell that merch. So for big
chains like AMC, it is big. Fifty four million dollars
worth of heck and popcorn buckets is wild, yes, but
this is also why you probably won't find that kind
of merch at your like local, like independently owned type
of theater.

Speaker 1 (14:18):
Yeah right, which we'll talk about a bit more in
the History Part two, but it's also after the pandemic.
It's it's a betting game, like you're betting this movie
six months in advance will be popular and people will
want to buy this bucket.

Speaker 2 (14:36):
And sometimes you know, because like I feel like Barbie
was coming out every day for about a year and
a half, that like the hype around that movie was
so so huge, so so right, like you knew that
was going to be fine. But there's other stuff where
you're like, how big is this next Ghostbusters movie.

Speaker 1 (14:52):
Going to be? I don't know exactly. Yes, Well, the
Dune Too bucket, which was in many ways a surprise,
I would say, you can find them on eBay for
over one hundred dollars, And I know because I have
a friend who really wanted one in Isle looked.

Speaker 2 (15:10):
And yeah, yeah. The resale and or collector's market for
these things can be intense. One of the Epcot figment buckets,
which we will also talk more about later, when for
five hundred bucks on eBay a week after its release.

Speaker 1 (15:29):
Yes, this was the whole thing I didn't know about.
There is a Disney Buckets Facebook.

Speaker 2 (15:34):
Group, yep, bunch of people really into them and There
is a Guinness record for the largest box of popcorn.
It was achieved in twenty eleven in Croatia by the
Cineplex Company. They built this giant popcorn vessel. It looks
to be a box about fifteen feet tall. It had

a total volume of fifty two point six cubic meter,
which is one eight hundred and fifty seven cubic feet
of popcorn. Yeah, it took an hour and fifty seven
minutes to fill with help from local foster children. H
it looked kind of fun like you like you grabbed

like a big old bag, like a big old bag,
and you like like climbed these stairs up to the
top and then you.

Speaker 1 (16:22):
Dumped it in. Oh yeah, okay, Okay, well, I guess
this's brings is two our history and examples, But first
you must take a quick break for a word from
our sponsors. And we're back. Thank you sponsors, Yes, thank you.

So okay.

Speaker 2 (16:50):
Humans have been consuming popcorn for about six thousand years,
give or tape. They probably put it in containers sometimes,
but the beginning of popcorn buckets as we know them
is tied to the beginning of popcorn as a fair
and festival snack. Which itself is tied to a the

creation of corn, including popping corn as a cash crop
in the American Midwest, which happened in the mid eighteen hundreds,
and b the creation of the portable batch popping machine,
which happened in eighteen eighty five by the Chicago World Expo.
In eighteen ninety three, we had the type of machine
that can like pop butter and salt these giant batches,

and the machine was also light enough to be lugged
around by cart wherever you thought that you could sell
some popcorn. During this era, bags or cones made of
paper were the materials being used. And interestingly, this same
era was also a time when a lot of advancements
in paper making were happening. We got paper from woodpulp,
manufactured paper bags, and wax paper coded paraffin in the

mid eighteen hundreds. Then types paper like like greaseproof and
glassene right around the turn of the nineteen hundreds. Those
those last two are made less porous during processing, though
they're often also coded for like extra and permeability to
grease and water and air different podcast just I found
it super fascinating.

Speaker 1 (18:15):
So there, yes, and speaking of same podcasts, different episode,
but definitely go check out our popcorn episode. We do
talk about some of this stuff in there. But yes,
the history of popcorn is heavily intertwined with the history
of movie going in the United States. Very quick recap.

In the nineteen twenties and thirties, thousands of movie theaters
opened across the US and they were incredibly popular, drawing
millions in attendance a week. Snack vendors saw an opportunity
to capitalize on this, and they would set up their
cards outside theaters, popcorn vendors included. The owners did not
like this because many of the theaters were set up

to look grand and opulent. They had these very nice rugs,
and now people were spilling drinks or leaving crumbs inside,
so many owners band food and drinks outright in response,
some did get rid of these rules. With the introduction
of the talkies, films was sound in the late nineteen twenties,

attendance soared to a weekly ninety million people at these
theaters in nineteen thirty. Still, not all the smaller theaters
could afford the technology required for these movies and were
forced to close, and the ones that did stay open
reframed movie night as something less fancy, like, not something

you would go and drink champagne, but you would go
and get soda and popcorn. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (19:48):
The nineteen twenties also saw paperboard boxes emerge, wax coated
and printed with these colorful patterns and graphics. Maybe as
a way to sort of like fancy fi the popcorn
like meet that opulence halfway. I don't know, maybe it's
market the popcorn a little bit harder.

Speaker 1 (20:06):

Speaker 2 (20:09):
Also a side note here before this, in the nineteen oughts,
the dang Kelloggs were some of the first food producers
who used paperboard boxes for.

Speaker 1 (20:21):
A food product. Those dank Kellogs.

Speaker 2 (20:28):
In cylindrical paperboard tubs appeared in the nineteen thirties.

Speaker 1 (20:33):
Yes, but then came the Great Depression and it really
hit movie theaters hard. But one thing that many Americans
could still afford and would splurge on was popcorn. Reluctantly,
some theaters started renting out sections of their lobbies two
snack benders to stay afloat, like, to get people to

come in. Eventually, theaters started offering concessions them so and
many realized they could make a lot of profit from that.
As opposed to actual ticket sales. For example, theaters can
sell popcorn at a markup as high as fifteen hundred percent.
Oh yeah. From there, the American association with popcorn in

the movies has solidified, and for many is a very
nostalgic thing. The smell particularly can be so evocative, so powerful.
Oh yeah, yes, some theaters even sold popcorn curbside during
the pandemic to make money. Oh yeah, because we were

missing it and it smelled good. And there's something about
theater popcorn.

Speaker 2 (21:43):
But really, it hits different, It hits different.

Speaker 1 (21:45):
A heck, yes, yes, but okay. As mentioned, movie theaters
were not the only places to sell popcorn. It was
also popular at fairs and festivals and later amusement park
And this, my friends, means it is time to go
on a Disney Park's popcorn bucket. Aside, though, it is

still very much connected to movie going.

Speaker 2 (22:09):
Yeah, because the theme parks are hypothetically marketing agents for
the films, yes, or maybe vice versa. I'm not sure
it's both.

Speaker 1 (22:18):
It's a mutual, symbiotic mess. But yes, And as I said,
if you didn't know, I didn't, collectible popcorn buckets are
a big deal at Disney. Some buckets attract our long
waits in hopes of getting one, and some of the

rare ones are worth thousands of dollars.

Speaker 2 (22:42):
We're worth in like heavy scare quotes, because I mean,
like anything, it's only worth what someone's willing to pay
for it. Sure, but people are willing to pay thousands
of dollars for some of these things.

Speaker 1 (22:52):
Yeah, yes, absolutely they are. Okay, So Disney parks have
been selling popcorn since they opened. There are a lot
of reasons popcorn and Disney go together, but perhaps the
obvious one is that Disney got its start making cartoons,
TV shows and movies. There is a famous picture of
Walt Disney himself eating popcorn while at the park, so

that association is already there, as is the Fair Festival Association.
It's easy to walk around with popcorn. It's also very
easy for vendors to set up and move around with popcorn.
High profit margin, as we've said, and it does have
a very nostalgic smell slash feel for many. Okay, So

at first, popcorn was most frequently offered alongside attractions advertising
a show or movie in Disney, and sold in paperboard boxes.
Sometime in the nineties, the parks started selling the first
plastic themed buckets after seeing success selling merchandise like popcorn

buckets in movie theaters. Apparently Tokyo Disney really went for it,
still does. So then they were selling collapsible buckets with
fabric holders, which I think is very, very smart, because
that's always been my thing with stuff like this at
theme parks. I don't want to carry it around all day.

Speaker 2 (24:18):
Yeah yeah, but if you have, right, if you have
a handle or a strap or something, then sure, And yeah,
this is a whole thing really like Okay, So, like
Disneyland and Disney World alone sell about eight hundred and
eighty five thousand pounds of popcorn a year.

Speaker 1 (24:39):

Speaker 2 (24:41):
And part of the draw these days is that those
plastic buckets are refillable for just a couple of bucks,
as opposed to the like, I don't know, like ten
to fifteen bucks that a fresh bucket is during the
length of stay of the trip when you bought it.
Universal has a similar policy that the way I think
you can bring Pride buckets back for new trips. They're

not super fancy though.

Speaker 1 (25:03):
Anyway, yeah listeners, let us know, oh yeah, yes, other
theme parks.

Speaker 2 (25:08):
Absolutely, we want to know what's up with those. We
didn't do a deep dive because Disney is kind of
like the place where it it's happening.

Speaker 1 (25:13):
But exactly. Yes. In twenty ten, the first figure popcorn
bucket was offered. Of course, it was Mickey Mouse with
what I understand is the iconic unfolding top hat.

Speaker 2 (25:28):
Yeah, I think that. I think that part of it
is detachable, perhaps so that you can share a little
bowl of popcorn with somebody else. That's yeah, that's what
I understand. Okay, Yeah, it was like a snowman Mickey
with like, you know, a top hat with Holly on
the band and like a little candy cane clutched in
his green mittened hand, and then the buttons down his

belly are in the shape of his own head, which
got me thinking, like, like, is that like wearing skull buttons?
Is is Mickey metal?

Speaker 1 (26:03):
Steamboat? Willie's in the public domain? My friend, there's already
a horror movie coming out, so we have to grapple
with that as a society. We do. Soon after that,
some Star Wars popcorn buckets debuted again. If you ever want,

if you happen to know me and or just want
some random podcast where I just talk about the legalities
of Disney and Star Wars. Please let me, because they
didn't own Star Wars at this point. But they debuted
including R two and an Atat and the ataight was
very popular. It had like rotating guns and bindable legs, which,

oh no, if you've seen The Empire Strikes Back, that's
kind of like the walking turtle thing.

Speaker 2 (26:58):
Yeah, it's it's the kind of spin legged, four legged
troop traveled vehicle.

Speaker 1 (27:04):
Yes, yes, And they also had yeah, Darth Vader himself
as a popcorn bucket.

Speaker 2 (27:11):
I think a little. I think I think it was
like a bust, like a little bust of Darth Vader,
or maybe maybe just the helmet. I'm not sure. I
don't remember, yes, but yeah, like the like the action
figures that this type of bucket is based on. They've
grown more complex and articulated over the years. You know,
they started putting in.

Speaker 1 (27:29):
Lights and sounds.

Speaker 2 (27:30):
They also come with these collectible lanyards that you can
carry them around like a purse. And apparently, yeah, Disney
spends about a year developing each bucket from like storyboard
to manufacturing to debut.

Speaker 1 (27:46):
Yes, which is one of the reasons they gave for
this is it You have to get it now. As
part of the celebration for the sixtieth anniversary of Disneyland Resort,
popcorn buckets, available in multiple colors and in the shape
of Disney balloons, were released in twenty fifteen, and they

are hugely popular to this day.

Speaker 2 (28:11):
Yeah, Disney balloons. If you haven't been, they have kind
of all over the parks. These like brightly colored, usually
translucent balloons shaped sort of like Mickey's head, like an
elongated version of Mickey's head if you've never seen him.
It's cuter than it sounds very like mid century aesthetic.

Speaker 1 (28:30):
Yeah, yes, and it's one of those things. When I
read about it, I was like, oh, I have seen
that before. I don't think I ever put together it
was a popcorn bucket, but yeah, I've seen it. A
few other popular examples include the Cinderella carriage bucket, and
by the way, I recommend looking up all of these,
every single one.

Speaker 2 (28:50):
Oh yeah, just go yourself on a little little dive
into popcorn bucket madness.

Speaker 1 (28:58):
Reach in Reachi. Uh, the Centrarel carriage bucket, the Alien
from Toy Story Bucket and Figment from Figmant's Imagination Bucket.
When that one was released in twenty two at Epcot,
it drew lines of four to five hours, longer than
the most popular rides.

Speaker 2 (29:20):
Yep, yeah, I read up to seven hours of waiting
occurred for that bucket. It's a if you're unfamiliar with Figment,
he's this kind of purple sort of like winged dinosaur,
uh dragon buddy. That was like the main like like
like mascot of Epcot for a long time, and then

he got like removed from the park for a minute.
And so when he started filtering back in, as these
ideas tend to do, people like went really in on
the nostalgia factor, which I which I get, Like, that's
that's a thing that I all and a motion that
I also experienced, so I understand it. But yeah, yeah,

it's this like large hollow plastic figurine with lanyard attachments
at its cheeks and the back panel that opens up
to hold the popcorn. It looks like it might have
come with rainbow candy. Corn Purchases were limited to t
per customer, and there were some up on eBay the
day of release. There's also now a post market for
bedazzled figment buckets and other Disney buckets. There are like

artists who make, from what I understand, a fairly solid
living bedazzling Disney buckets and selling them.

Speaker 1 (30:37):
Yes, that's sort of an accessory. Yeah, often a purse
or something. Yeah. A lot of the really popular ones
are from outside the US, especially from Japan. There's a
lantern one from Tangled, it is very beautiful, a color
changing one from Frozen, a really cool monster's ink one.

Speaker 2 (30:57):
With all of these little doors that open and little
monsters behind them. Yeah, super cute.

Speaker 1 (31:02):
Yes, and often these collectibles are only available at the parks,
adding exclusivity and incentive to obtain them, which is obviously
they want to get you in the park. There are
also exclusive seasonal and themed popcorn flavors only available in
the park, many of them colorful. I had a great
time reading about some of those two.

Speaker 2 (31:23):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think that's a I think that's
a different episode or like maybe like a little mini
episode for the future. But Disney popcorn flavors go hard. Yeah.
Some of the designs are only available to like certain
tiers of ticket holders stuff like that. All right, So
when When popcorn debuted at Disneyland, it was served in

these paperboard boxes patterned in white and teal stripes that
like match the colorway of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. And in
twenty twenty Disney re released those original box They have
like a like a foldable or closable top, which is
kind of nice. In twenty twenty one, they released a
plastic bucket made in the same design with a little

snap lid, and y'all again, like, I'm not surprised, but
I'm just like a little blown away by the eBay
ability of all of this. Like I saw prices up
to and including eighty bucks for the plastic one, twenty
five bucks for one of the used paperboard ones. Yeah,

I will say though, for all of my like mild concerns, questions, questions,
sure about all of this. As a result, you can
now eat popcorn out of a battle damaged stormtrooper helmet,
as the e walk gods intended. So indeed, I think

it's over all a good thing.

Speaker 1 (33:07):
Never forget you walks eat people.

Speaker 2 (33:10):
They definitely eat stormtroopers.

Speaker 1 (33:15):
Indeed, well, quick pivot. I just want to put this
in here because it kept coming up and I do
think it's interesting. Uh. Brief note, this isn't really what
we're focusing on today at all, but in the nineties,
this is when we see their eyes of holiday popcorn
tins as gifts. So like the you know, the big

old like gallon size tub, Yeah, with usually like four
flavors in there. Yeah. Yes, that's also when this's happened.
But okay, okay. For decades, studios like Disney, wanting to
promote a family friendly film would partner with a third
party to produce collectibles to sell it the theater. But

collectible popcorn buckets are certainly no longer just targeting kids
or younger folk in general, and Disney is actually part
of that shift to starting in twenty nineteen when they
partnered with AMC for a Star Wars Rise of Skywalker
bucket in the shape of R two D two, which
you can also get now with Phantom Ministry release four

forty nine ninety nine. The head is like a beverage holder.

Speaker 2 (34:29):
Yeah, so you can like sip out of R two's
head and then there's a little hatch in his back
that opens up for the popcorn to come out of.

Speaker 1 (34:36):
Yeah. Yes, And it sold out and theater owners and
companies took notice.

Speaker 2 (34:45):
Yeah, I mean, I don't know, like i'd argue that
R two is still like fifty percent kid focused, but yeah,
it just it makes so much sense that that Disney,
in this like full cultural three sixty pulled popcorn into
their parks because reminds people of movie theaters, then orchestrated
these fancy hecking buckets in their parks, and then brought

those buckets around to movie theaters because why wouldn't they,
Why wouldn't they.

Speaker 1 (35:10):
Yeah, fifty bucks, come on.

Speaker 2 (35:13):
Yeah, it's really R two is adorable and I love him.

Speaker 1 (35:18):
I do too, I wanted to get That's also how
they get you too, though, because I have tried to
get a couple of popcorn buckets and they're sold out
by the time I get there. Oh yeah, people get
there so fast they do. And funnily enough, I've had
more than one friend offered to buy me the home
popcorn popper that shape like our there's one of those.

That's great. However, you'll notice this popcorn bucket happened right
before the pandemic, and actually that movie was one of
the last movies I saw in theaters over the pandit
rise of Skywalker. Yeah, yes, Rise of Skywalker. Okay. So
during the pandemic and even before then, due to things

like streaming and changing media landscapes and preferences, movie theater
chains like AMC were really struggling. As mentioned, historically, popcorn
has been a big money maker for theaters, so as
more and more theaters started reopening in more pre pandemic
style of operation after the pandemic, these chains were looking

to increase revenue and get people back in the seats.
In the past few years, that has led to an
increase in collectible style popcorn buckets. And some of them
are truly spectacular. They are, And we're going to go
over some of them right now because and please look

at a kid. Look up.

Speaker 2 (36:46):
This is not all of them by any means. These
are just ones that we were personally tickled by for
one reason or another.

Speaker 1 (36:55):
Yes, I had to whittle down this list. One was
and this one is the one that most people are like.

Speaker 2 (37:04):

Speaker 1 (37:05):
But the film Walka had a hat like his hat
it looks like it was made of chocolate. His top hat. Yeah, yeah, yes,
that was a popcorn bucket. It had the title of
the film across it. The screen Ghost Face popcorn bucket
in the shape of ghost Face. It's comical looking. The

Mean Girl's burn Book bucket. This was a non traditional
book shaped bucket in the style of the burn Book,
and this one was very popular. According to the Hollywood Reporter,
fifteen percent of Mean Girl attendees on opening weekend surveyed
cited merchandise as the reason they purchased a ticket to

the movie.

Speaker 2 (37:48):
Yeah, yeah, it was a it's like a nice metal tin.
I mean you look at it, you go, that's reusable.

Speaker 1 (37:55):
Yes, yes, which we're going to talk about that a
bit at the end. But a lot of people were like, yeah,
I can I want popcorn in this? I can use
this for the things don't put popcorn in there. Actually
there was a Doms Charger car shaped popcorn bucket tied
to Fast X.

Speaker 2 (38:14):
Yeah Fast at Fast I don't share ex which everyone
that is I run into this problem final fantasy anyway. Yeah,
this is a nineteen seventy Dodge Charger action figure essentially,
but like you probably the top half open, like it's
a like it's a crab shell and then you put
popcorn in it. It doesn't look convenient to me, But

if you're if you're into fast and Furious, then heck, yeah.

Speaker 1 (38:41):
Well there were several funny articles that we're talking about
how much popcorn you can actually get into those buckets
and rating them on that. Yeah, a lot of the
car ones are not so much. There was the Ghostbusters
ecdo one container.

Speaker 2 (38:58):
Yeah, that one was for After Life Frozen Empire, which
just has come out, has one in the shape of
the ghost Trap and there's this little like detachable, like
pink translucent beam that that you put on the top
and that's where you hold all your popcorn.

Speaker 1 (39:20):
Okay. There was also the Blue Beetle Bug Ship container
complete with lanyard, that I heard was a hit with
the kids. It looked cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2 (39:32):
Then within the Marvel Verse, Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy's
spiderheads were available as buckets for across the Spider Verse.

Speaker 1 (39:42):
And then there was saw X saltan of Jigsaw Jigsaw's
head and it was complete with LEDs and the red
eyes lit up. Yes, Dungeons and Dragons, Honor among Thieves
had a twenty side did die bucket. That one looked
really cool, right right.

Speaker 2 (40:04):
Disney did release another theater only popcorn bucket for the
Hunted Mansion movie of twenty thirteen at cinema theaters. Specifically,
a lot of these A number of these buckets have
specific deals with specific theater chains, but anyway, Yeah, this
one was shaped like Madam Leota's crystal ball, like a
ghostly image of her face on one side and the

film logo on the other. There's also been a drink
container at Disney World. I understand we're at the theme
parks in similar sort of vibe.

Speaker 1 (40:35):
Here's the one that I love. I had not heard
about this one. There is a popcorn bucket of Thor's Hammer,
and when I saw the image of it, I immediately
had questions.

Speaker 2 (40:47):
Because it doesn't look like a convenient A lot of
these don't look like convenient things to eat popcorn.

Speaker 1 (40:52):
Out of, but this one was one of the ones.
I was like, wow, I really can't envision this, so
I found a quote from Slash Film about it. There's
also a glorious impracticality to the design that makes it hilarious.
As I'm beginning to think every good novelty popcorn container
should be. It's tough to imagine anyone actually trying to

eat the popcorn out of the hammer, which is designed
to sit handle up, meaning more than half of its length,
functions as a lid in a crowded theater lest they
poke out their seat mate's eye. This vessel completely abandons
any attempt to be recognized as something like a bowl,

and that's kind of incredible. It also makes it a
delightfully surprising bit of merch for collectors, as the popcorn compartment,
which could really hold anything, isn't visible until you bust
me on near in half by pulling aside the handle
and part of the hammer. This item is more like
a secret treasure chest in geek friendly packaging than an

actual popcorn bucket. Is this a stupid design for a
food holding device? Certainly, but it's awe inspiring and both
it's lack of functionality and it's ambition. And I'm pretty
sure eating popcorn out of it would feel like touching ball. Hell,

it's really it's good. Let's put it up. Yeah it up? Then,
As mentioned, the limited edition Barbie bucket in the shape
of the pink convertible that she drives sold out of
the twenty five thousand produced.

Speaker 2 (42:38):
Yeah, from the New York Times, it doesn't do a
great job of holding popcorn. Which spills out of the sides,
but it does uncannily resemble a sleek Barbie car.

Speaker 1 (42:48):
There you go. As mentioned a Star Wars The Phantom
Menace re release, they do have one that's a traditional
bucket with just like a wrap around, but they did
bring back the art two bucket that they offered for
Rise of Skywalker. Yes, but of course notorious and infamous

Dune two bucket. Oh my, it's designed to look like
the sad worms of Aracus, where the consumer you're meant
to reach into the mouth of the worm, which is
complete with kind of flexible teeth to get to your popcorn.
So sort of a I've heard you got to like

make a fist. It looks extremely a lot of anatomical
references perhaps ideas John to mind and yeah, to eat
the popcorn. A lot of people reported basically having to
make that fist, get the popcorn, and lose a lot
of the popcorn all the way out.

Speaker 2 (43:51):
Yeah, because those teeth, although flexible, right, are really gonna
impede your actual popcorn rabing ability. So in addition to
looking like a sex toy, it's not even particularly practical,

uh regarding it's in fact viral resemblance to a sex toy,
an insider told Hollywood Reporter and I quote that was
not something that was pitched as a moment for the movie. Indeed,
in fact, the director of the film told The Times

that his reaction upon seeing.

Speaker 1 (44:37):
It was holy smokes. There's a lot of good videos
of the cast reacting to it. Yes, the chief content
officer of AMC Theaters issued an apology over the bucket,
and it's one of the most beautiful, like vague apologies

I've ever heard. But then a bunch of people were like,
don't apologize, I love it. Yep to that end. Soon
after the release of the trailer for Deadpool and Wolverine,
star of that movie, Ryan Reynolds posted on social media,

just wait till you see the Deadpool popcorn bucket, and
I'm a little afraid. Mmmm.

Speaker 2 (45:29):
The Deadpool films is just a fascinating cultural phenomenon. It's
for this is for a different show. But I'm I'm
so I'm so fascinated that, like we live in a
time like what a time to be alive, Like we
live in a time where we've had not only successful
but also like relatively faithful adaptations of such media as
Deadpool and like Rocket Raccoon on the big screen.

Speaker 1 (45:55):
That's wild to me. M yep, yep, it is. It is. Well,
we'll have to wait and see. As far as I
know that design hasn't been released.

Speaker 2 (46:07):
I feel like I was mostly a joke. But I
also would not put it past that team to do
something about.

Speaker 1 (46:11):
It, I'm afraid, but yes, either way, as possible, either way.
As you mentioned earlier, Lauren, this brings us to the end.
Unfortunately of our examples. Cannot stress enough go look them up.
But as you mentioned earlier, Lauren, many smaller theaters don't
have the funds to sell these buckets, or they do,

but their clientele perhaps just isn't as interested in purchasing
them and once it is for their kid, So a
lot of the theaters I go to never have them. Yeah. Yeah, yes,
also something I mentioned earlier, But yeah, movies like Star
Wars were pioneers for better or worse in terms of
merchandising and things like this. I have some friends who

have a lot of strong opinions about that. But a
lot of these big blockbuster movies that have steep budgets
make a good chunk of their money from merchandising even
more than the movie themselves in some cases, and a
part of this is now things like popcorn buckets. Yep. Yes,

Also influencer culture has helped arise in popularity of these
popcorn buckets, particularly as accessories as you mentioned learned with
the bedazzling or things like that. And there are rightfully
concerns about waste. From what I read, most people like
these things because you can use them for a wide
variety of purposes, but still concern.

Speaker 2 (47:39):
Yeah, Like, I'm not sure what the tipping point is
on how many people have to keep and reuse or
you know, possibly resell or recycle a bucket to make
it a more sustainable product than paperboard. But definitely, you know,
when we reduce one and done packaging in our lives,
that's generally a positive impact. I haven't heard of American

theaters doing this, but the Cinemak brand's arm in Chile
debuted a plastic bucket back in twenty seventeen that the
moviegoers can bring back and refill during future visits, and
which in fact had like removable coupons printed on the
side to encourage that, and the company reported that during
some months, customers were buying more refills than they were buckets,

so it was working.

Speaker 1 (48:24):

Speaker 2 (48:26):
Also, I will say that through all of this, you know,
bucket technology has continued to evolve, certainly printing processes you know,
like like lenticular wrap around stuff like that have. I
feel like that was heavy into the nineties, but then
you started getting the plastic ones that that same decade.
But yeah, it's continuing to evolve to this day. I

read an article about this inventor in Arizona who recently
started producing a hands free popcorn bucket. The bottom of
the bucket will fit into a standard cup holder, so
moviegoers who find it difficult to like to like grab
and hold a bucket in their lap have a better option.

Speaker 1 (49:06):
Oh I love this. Yeah, popcorn bucket in container innovation continues.

Speaker 2 (49:16):
Yes, always, I am terrified about what the future could hold,
not only in terms of Deadpool that's just across the board.

Speaker 1 (49:24):
That's yes, But I can't wait to see in listeners,
Please if you have a bucket, yes or one we
didn't mention. Oh my gosh, there.

Speaker 2 (49:35):
Are literally hundreds, hundreds upon hundreds of Disney buckets from
the last couple decades that have come out and write
like people are fierce about them, and yes, and yeah,
I mean or even just like if there's if if
you have saved like a relatively normal popcorn bucket because

you just had like a really wonderful I memory of
seeing the film, or like it had like a really
cool print on it, or I don't know, something like that.

Speaker 1 (50:06):
Yeah, this is going to be the instance where I
send Savor a message. Okay, all right, look at my
popcorn buckets that I have. I got some more than
the ones I mentioned. Oh okay, all right, including a
like I have a cardboard one that I said because
it was such a fun day. Yeah, I totally get it.

And if this was a different podcast, I read a
lot about the nostalgia and collector culture and why why
this is a thing, and it was really fascinating. So
I recommend if you're interested look that up as well. Yeah, yeah, yes,
but this was a delight. Hopefully we'll get some some

updates from you all listeners. But I think that's what
we have to say about popcorn buckets for now.

Speaker 2 (50:56):
I think it is. We do already have some listener
mail for you, though, and we are to get into
that as soon as we get back from one more
quick break for a word from our sponsors, and we're back.

Speaker 1 (51:14):
Thank you sponsor, Yes, thank you, and we're back with listener.
I was going to do a Darth Vader. It's hard
to communicate via visual yeah yeah. And then I was
going to do a scroll also difficult.

Speaker 2 (51:35):
Yeah yeah, I was. I was prepared ish for the
scroll music mm hmm. But it's also but it's also
difficult to I agree, that's difficult to just perform, let
alone communicate. So yeah, yeah, yeah, but I.

Speaker 1 (51:52):
Mean one of the reasons I was thinking about this
is that I was wondering about Darth Vader, what have
he How would he feel as a real he really existed,
and he somehow came to our universe, okay, and he
saw this popcorn bucket or this waffle iron.

Speaker 2 (52:14):
I'm just curious what he would feel about his you know, like, yeah,
I got completely burned up by a fire and I
need to wear this helmet to live. How he would
feel about that helmet being like a major symbol on
merchandise throughout the world.

Speaker 1 (52:29):
Yeah yeah, I've come to the conclusion I would love
if listeners were writing about this as well. I think
he would mostly hate it because he's someone who has
a lot of love respect.

Speaker 2 (52:48):
He's a little self serious.

Speaker 1 (52:49):
Yeah, he's very serious, but I think there are some
he might be like, yes, you should be afraid. I
think if it, like if the merchandise was scary enough.
Oh okay, okay. I presented him in like the white
he likes. But also he'd want the money because the
empire is all about that. Listeners write in with your thoughts.

Speaker 2 (53:15):
Cool, yeah, yeah, please do please do.

Speaker 1 (53:18):
As part of where this this whole episode came from
is I was like, oh, think about this, which I've
We got to thank this next listener for doing some
work for us, Amanda Rope, I must start with again
a thank you for being a bright spot of humor, deliciousness,
nerdiness and actual learning in my week. You both are

so lovely every week. Thanks, thank you so much for
everything you do. You really do bring such joy to
my life with your beautiful selves. Anyhow, I'm actually emailing
as you asked if anyone had any more information regarding
sun Chip's message messages to the sun I try'd contacting
Freedo Lay and received this very nice reply. Hi, Amanda,

here's a bit more information regarding sun chips, plowing messages,
and wheat fields. These messages to the Moon will be
tilled in the wheat fields of our partner farmers located
in Missouri. These fields are located along the twenty twenty
four solar eclipse path and grow whole grains like those
used to make delicious sunship products. The plowed wheat will

be mixed into the soil to improve the health of
the field. So not only is this project good for
the sun, it's good for farmers too. So they did
not follow up with much more information than this, but
this fields like fairly concrete evidence that they actually did this.
Pretty cool of them to reply. Also some additional notes

on recent episodes you asked for. I love carrot cake.
I think carrot cake just got put on the menu
this week. I also ate a ton of shrimp dumplings
and chili crisp during your chili crisp episode. Here in Canada,
mountain dew, at least in my experience, still has a
similar reputation to that of in the States, but it

is much less of a thing here. We have only
a few flavors and the caffeine amount is much less.
To comply with our food laws. Lastly, I did go
on the Thousand Island tour and saw Hart Castle. I
totally remember them telling some sort of story about a
Thousand Island dressing. Unfortunately, I was a small child at

the time, thirty years ago, so other than that, my
memory is a little hazy. I think we were on
a boat. The castle was neat. Yes, yes, well so
many things. Thank you for answering y'all everything out of

sun Chips.

Speaker 2 (55:58):
That's wonderful, and it is slightly more information than I
was able to glean, or like a different facet of information,
I suppose, because basically as soon as we wrapped that episode,
I was like, hold on, though, there has to be
more information about the Sunship's message to the Moon situation
hm and and found on Sunship's Instagram page they had

They had a couple of videos or reels or whatever
the heck you call them of these these fields being tilled.
And yeah, one one of the messages definitely just reads
in like large letters, hey Moon move sun chips.

Speaker 1 (56:45):
Vaguely menacing.

Speaker 2 (56:48):
Yeah, yeah, I don't think the Moon can read, but
but yeah, thank you, thank you for reaching out to
a marketing team.

Speaker 1 (56:55):
That's wonderful. That is amazing and I love that they
responded back.

Speaker 2 (57:01):
Yeah. Yeah, and that's that's also like the most like
like marketing human response ever.

Speaker 1 (57:09):
I adore that. Yes, uh.

Speaker 2 (57:14):
Yeah, yeah, I oh, I also do adore the I
hadn't considered this before. But of course other countries must
have more reasonable regulations about caffeine, being that it's a drug.

Speaker 1 (57:27):
Yeah, and so yeah, when I read that, I was like, oh,
oh yeah, yeah, clearly we should. I mean, one day
we keep giving ourselves intense topics a lot of homework,
but one day we should talk about that, because I
think that's really interesting. In Canada, they're like.

Speaker 2 (57:50):
They're like, no, you don't need that much caffeine. We could,
we could, we could scale it back, it'd be it'd
be fine.

Speaker 1 (57:55):
Yeah. In America were like give me that search no,
but yeah, also you gave me I really want shimp
jumplings and chili cris Now, I've even parted a craving

upon me that is certain.

Speaker 2 (58:20):
I still have not purchased a jar of chili crisp
since then, and I probably need to.

Speaker 1 (58:26):
Yes, yeah, I agree. Oh. Also we should just mention
in case listeners if you hadn't heard the episode. Where
we talk about some ships. That was our Eclipse marketing short. Yeah,
so if you missed that one, that's where we talked
about that. If you're like, what are you talking about?

Speaker 2 (58:49):
Yeah, yes, all right, Joe wrote, Churos are so delicious.
I was in Spain two years ago, but didn't realize
I'd missed out on churros until I was on the
bust of Portugal. Truly a tragedy, but that's just one
of many reasons to go back. There is a restaurant
in Chicago called Taboo that has a churrolette on the menu.

Why is it a roulette? One of the churros is
least in the hob narrow. My friend and I had
an excellent time picking her way around the dish a
picture attached, debating which one had the hob narrow until
we were down to the final two. We guessed correctly.
The heat wasn't too bad, but that's probably because we
were liberal.

Speaker 1 (59:29):
In our dunking.

Speaker 2 (59:31):
The roulette has chocolate, dolca de la che and guava sauces,
and I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area.
Annie I agreed that carrot cake feels like more of
a fall thing. I started baking in middle school and
since then carrot cake has become one of my specialties,
even though I absolutely hate grading the carrot It's so
tedious and I like using the fine side of a
box grader, which always makes it seem harder. Family and

friends would always request it for parties, and they were
far more likely to request it in the fall, especially
around the Thanksgiving. My recipe came from the Better Homes
and Gardens cookbook, and I flipped between the carrot cake
and cream cheese icing recipes so often that the entire
book fell apart.

Speaker 1 (01:00:09):

Speaker 2 (01:00:10):
Can confirm that carrot cake is popular in England because
I always saw it in cafes and as an option
for afternoon tea. Also that K pop group I mentioned
in the last email, they have a song on their
most recent mini album titled carrot Cake Wild. Congratulations on
your self at the anniversary. I can't believe it's been
that long, but I am so glad it has. And

here's too many more. A live show where Lourene can
swear would be such a fun time.

Speaker 1 (01:00:38):
I mean, the requests are rolling in. Oh my gosh,
oh heck, I love it. Oh my gosh oh oh, okay,
I love all of this.

Speaker 2 (01:00:53):
I love the multiple dipping sauces.

Speaker 1 (01:00:56):
I love the let of true o roulette of churros. Yes,
I love that too. That is so fun.

Speaker 2 (01:01:05):
Sure roulette, there you go. I think that's the better pronunciation. Yeah, yeah,
I mean, although I'm not mad about any.

Speaker 1 (01:01:12):
Of those flavors.

Speaker 2 (01:01:12):
Uh uh oh and I and I love that that
middle school was a was a good baking time for you.
That Better Homes and Gardens usually does have really really
stand up recipes.

Speaker 1 (01:01:26):
And I love how you can tell this was a
well loved recipe based on like the words are almost.

Speaker 2 (01:01:32):
Washed out completely, yeah, just by you flipping just yeah
oh yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:01:41):
Yeah I did. I did get I know. I've complained
about this before, but you can get drawn into where
everybody always wants you to make the same thing. That
can be a little like h But I hope that
it sounds like you're happy with this.

Speaker 2 (01:01:57):
Yeah yeah, oh and yeah, that's that's what I was
going to say. If you've never tried doing graded carrot
in a food processors, it's a life changer. If you
have like a Queens and Ark kind of situation or
something like that, then it makes it so much easier.
It's those are expensive machines, so you know that's sometimes

using manpower. Human power and in a box grater is great,
but no pun intended. I do tend to grate my
knuckles every time I use a box grater. I need
kitchen gloves.

Speaker 1 (01:02:30):
Gosh, yes, my mom got me these gloves. I would
never test it, but they're supposed to be like, knife
can't gut through them, fire can't get in because I'm
very clumsy. Yeah, I would never put to the test.
Not ever.

Speaker 2 (01:02:46):
Well, I mean, don't purposefully stab yourself, but I mean
like it can't hurt to wear them during instances where
you might accidentally.

Speaker 1 (01:02:54):
Right, Yes, yeah cool. I just know that I've had
several occasions where the safety uh. I put that quotes
because it makes me feel like I don't have to
be as careful. And then I then you manager yourself.

Yeah don't yeah, don't do that. Definitely don't do that.
Still exercise caution. Yes you're still using sharp and or
hot things. M Yes, message received excellent time one day

get somewhere well. Thank you so much to both of
these listeners for writing in. If you would like to
write to as you can, or email us hello at
saviorpod dot com.

Speaker 2 (01:03:50):
We're also on social media. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook,
and Instagram at saver pod and we do hope to
hear from you. Savor is production of iHeartRadio. For more
podcasts my Heart Radio, you can visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
Thanks us always to our super producers Dylan Fagan and
Andrew Howard. Thanks to you for listening, and we hope
that lots of more good things are coming your way.

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