Innovation That Matters

In 'edible cinema', coordinating snacks enhance viewers' experience of the story

Publishing & Media

London's Electric Cinema has created a movie experience that integrates a carefully coordinated sequence of snacks designed to enhance viewers' sensory experience of the story.

There are already plenty of variations out there on the basic cinema — the floating Archipelago Cinema we featured not long ago, for instance — but one we hadn’t seen until just recently is a movie experience that integrates a carefully coordinated sequence of snacks designed to enhance viewers’ sensory experience of the story. Sure enough, London’s Electric Cinema last month featured the first in a series of what it calls “edible cinema”. Beginning with its May showing of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, Electric Cinema’s edible cinema concept “is not just about eating,” the theater explains. Rather, “the smell, texture, even the way your mouth feels after eating … will correspond to what’s happening on screen and heighten the viewers’ sensory experience.” How does it work? Audience members are given a series of numbered packages before the start of the film, each containing a different food item. At specific points during the film, large numbered placards are shown to the audience, indicating that it’s time to eat the contents of the corresponding package. For Pan’s Labyrinth, for example, pine-smoked popcorn accompanied a scene that took place in the Spanish woodland, while viewers were treated to a carbonated red grape at the very moment the character Ofelia ate an enchanted one. Tickets for the edible cinema showing began at GBP 22.50. Edible cinema is a collaboration with Soho House, experience organizer Polly Betton and experimental food designer Andrew Stellitano. “I was most concerned with making it interesting,” Betton recently told the Guardian. “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 few extra tricks.” Entertainment entrepreneurs the world over: One for inspiration!
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