An avid cinema-goer has started a petition to ban the sale of POPCORN in all cinemas – claiming the noise of it being eaten ruins films.
Mike Shotton’s frustration with the rustling and chewing caused by the popular snack began in the 1990s during a viewing of ‘Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves’.
But it was a trip to see the much-anticipated new Star Wars film that tipped the 39-year-old over the edge.
He is now calling on cinema chains and even the Government to bring in a blanket ban on popcorn at the movies.
Mike, a self-employed author, said: “The noise is something that’s always bothered me, ever since I was a little kid.
“I’m the kind of person that if I hear something in the background, I focus on it until that’s all I can hear.
“But it was the popcorn noise ruining Star Wars that really did it for me.
“I was really looking forward to that film. I knew there would be a lot of kids there but I also thought it would be full of true fans wanting to watch the movie in peace.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of noise during the film – it completely ruined it for me.”
Newly-married Mike, whose wife Maria, 32, is a project co-ordinater, added: “I love films but I can’t get excited about going as much as I want to. I just can’t concentrate with people rustling and making noise.
A counter petition was set up calling on people to “stop Mike Shotton and others from trying to get popcorn banned”.
That petition explained that “popcorn is an essential part of the cinema experience” and described Mike and others like him as “killjoys”.
The petition said: “As the petition is on grounds of noise pollution, with enough signatures it would be officially looked at as an item for monitoring by the environmental health department.
“If this happened it would be up to individual county councils to decide whether or not to impose a ban in their area.
“Stop these killjoys from banning our popcorn.”
However, Mike, from Newcastle, faced his foe head on and challenged the counter petition organiser to a signature duel – an unofficial agreement which means the petition with the least signatures by a certain date must cease and desist with all publicity.
Fortunately for Mike, he emerged victorious.
He said: “When I saw the counter petition, I contacted its organiser and we both agreed to share both petitions to see who could get the most signatures by last Monday (January 11).
“Whichever one got the least signatures would have to stop publicising their petition. In the end I had 106 and my adversary had 92.”
So Mike’s petition remains and he now plans to start a hard campaign calling for a UK-wide ban of popcorn in all cinemas.
His petition explains the reasons for his desire to ban the popular product citing that despite cinema chains bombarding theatre goers with reminders to be quiet they then “sell the loudest food known to man”.
Mike said: “It’s like letting off bangers in a library. It makes no sense.”
His petition also claims that the “bucket of cooked grain” stinks.
He said: “Next time you’re around some, give it a sniff, you’ll be stunned.
“In brief, it’s loud, it smells, it tastes of nothing and shares a consistency with weakened polystyrene.”
Now the path has been cleared for him to publicise his petition as much as he wants, Mike is planning to take it to the next level.
He said: “My main point is about the noise it causes. I’m looking for a ruling to say it is a noise pollution problem.
“My next plan is to start a further petition which, if it gathers enough signatures, will mean it has to be debated by the Government in the Houses of Parliament.
“I’m also planning to campaign outside cinemas and give people leaflets explaining the petition and trying to encourage them not to buy popcorn when they go into the cinema.”