In any given year, like 2010, over 600 movies are released at American theaters. Though many of these movies are forgettable, they do provide us the chance to indulge in one of our favorite pastimes – eating popcorn.

Mans love for popcorn can be traced back thousands of years. Maize kernels, today called corn, have been found in the earliest of caves. The Aztec civilization, in particular, was known for its affection for popping corn. Spanish explorers who came into contact with the Aztecs brought back samples to Europe. Popcorn was served at the first Thanksgiving meal. Ever since we Americans cannot stop dipping our hands into the bag.

Each of us, according to the averages, consumes 52 quarts of popcorn a year. That totals 16 billion quarts of popping corn a year in the United States. 30% of that is consumed in movie theaters. Popcorn sales peak during the fall and winter months. Per capita, the cities of Milwaukee and Minneapolis eat the most.

And what do we pay for that popcorn? Often times we pay the price of sitting down to watch that forgettable movie. Where else can we obtain that one of a kind maize?

What movies did we watch the most this year while stuffing ourselves with popcorn? The highest grossing films of 2010 were:

1. Toy Story 3
2. Alice in Wonderland
3. Inception
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Party 1
5. Shrek Forever After
6. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
7. Iron Man 2
8. Despicable Me
9. Clash of the Titans
10. How to Train Your Dragon

The list offers a number of amazing conclusions about this past year.

The majority of films on the list are geared toward kids. The movies continue to provide a getaway for families looking to put the real world behind. A majority of the films are also familiar brands. Sequels and remakes still draw the biggest crowds. When spending that kind of money we hesitate to take risks. These films also taught us something about politics in 2010.

Nancy Pelosi, ousted Speaker of the House, played our Alice in the wonderland of Congress. Barack Obama seemed trapped for months in his own Inception. Julian Assange became the world’s Despicable Me. Toy Story 3 tapped into our love affair with toys. Google, Facebook and Twitter all became brands that have replaced political parties and other civic groups. We now engage within the civil sphere without leaving our rooms. Our politics will never be the same.

2010 brought a number of changes to our political theater. 2011 will too. One thing will not change. We will continue to sit back and watch it all with a big bag of popcorn. We all hope for butter days ahead?

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