Movie theater popcorn. Credit: "Yummy!" by Dave Fancher is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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It’s the color of the petals of a sunflower, but nature had nothing to do with it. 

Some of it will end up in the cups of your bra, and only the lord will know if you eat it later. 

If you catch a waft of it from as far as 45 yards away, you have to have it. 

You love to munch on it, but hypocritically detest when others have the nerve to eat it in the row behind you.

When movies theaters went dark in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, their lobbies became eerily quiet. Gone was the signature pop-pop-pop sound that doubled as free advertising for one of the world’s most classic pairings—a flick and box of bright yellow, aggressively salty popcorn. 

Seven months later, movie theaters in the District are still closed, making movie theater popcorn an increasingly distant memory. The Fandango app pulls up a whole lot of nothing within D.C. proper.

In Phase 2 of reopening, movie theaters seeking to reopen must apply for a waiver from the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. Applications must include a plan for social distancing, protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and a system to facilitate contact tracing. Absent a waiver, cinemas must remain closed. (City Paper asked HSEMA if they’ve received any applications or granted any waivers, but hasn’t received a response.)

I miss the guilt that comes with ordering a large box after the dinner part of a dinner-and-a-movie-date. Desserts are for suckers; save room for popcorn at a 9 p.m. show. 

I miss the wide-eyed strangers who watch me dump a box of Peanut M&M’s straight into my popcorn box, creating a two-ingredient trail mix. 

I miss the fancy theaters that have a popcorn toppings bar where you can shake flavored salt, cinnamon and sugar, or powdered cheese on top of an already perfect snack. Stoners go for all three.

I even miss the kernel-shaped stains that are impossible to get out of my favorite pair of jeans. 

I’m going to need a miracle to hold onto what movie theater popcorn tastes like. Flavacol doesn’t quite cut it.

Enter The Miracle Theatre on Barracks Row (535 8th St. SE). The historic, single-screen second-run movie theater and live performance venue remains closed to the public for showings, but they’re answering the call when it comes to popcorn cravings. 

Washingtonians can visit their online store and choose between two combos, both of which include movie theater popcorn. Orders must be placed by 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoons for pick-up on Friday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. The next available date is Oct. 16.

Ten bucks gets you combo number one, containing a large popcorn, drink, and a box of candy. Spend five more dollars and score a large popcorn, two drinks, and two boxes of candy. Customers choose their drinks and candy varieties when they arrive for pick-up. And you can request to have your popcorn sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning.

“Providing ‘curbside concessions’ and a curated offering of new release films that our customers can stream from home is a way for us to continue to be The Miracle until we can open our doors to customers again,” says General Manager Juliet Main.

Indeed, The Miracle Theatre currently offers virtual programming whose sales benefit the theater if you want to pair your genuine movie theater popcorn with something other than Netflix.

Hat tip to blogger Barred In DC for spotting The Miracle Theatre’s special. There’s also the option to head over to Northern Virginia to score some movie theater popcorn. They’re in Phase 3 of reopening, and a handful of cinemas are open.

“Yummy!” by Dave Fancher is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0