Monster University finishes its Nelson run tonight at the Civic Theatre.

Of monsters, turtles and film distribution for Nelson

Last weekend, the Civic Theatre had a case of monsters. Monsters University, the Disney Pixar film, drew hordes of little monsters

Last weekend, the Civic Theatre had a case of monsters. Monsters University, the Disney Pixar film, drew hoards of little monsters, bigger monsters, and their families.

I loved taking my own little monsters to summer films, a welcome respite during hot weather when the days were long and the sunscreen ran thin. The excitement as we settled into our seats in the dark theatre was palpable.

Local film-lover and volunteer P’nina Shames recalls taking her son to his first movie on such a summer day. He became so excited at the prospect of seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles he choked on his popcorn, nearly necessitating the Heimlich maneuver. Close calls aside, the volume of Civic Theatre stories I’ve received since starting this column tells me this simple family activity is a maker of good childhood memories.

That’s what we had in mind when we responded to requests for a kid-centered movie, but showing Monsters University was a gamble. That’s because Disney’s strict distribution rules meant we could have Monsters, and Monsters only, all weekend long. No other film. Would there be enough little monsters to fill the seats?

Apparently, yes. But plenty of people did ask, “Why one movie all weekend long?”

Film studio distribution rules were never meant for independent single-screen theatres — one of many reasons our plan calls for three screens. Newer movies come with strict regs, and some distributors won’t allow another film to be shown during the film’s run. In this case, it was to be a Monster-only weekend. Luckily, a lot of families thanked us by bringing their own.

To offer the best variety we can while we are operating with one screen, we’ll usually show movies a few weeks late (once the distribution rules have relaxed). That means be patient, Nelson! If you wait for it, it will come. And sometimes, we’ll just have to show one film, because coming up against film distributors can be like—well, like facing a horde of teenaged mutant killer zombie ninja monsters.

We’re happy to report two films slated for this weekend. World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, and Daniella Kertesz involves monsters (zombies, really) for adults. Alongside, look for the heist flick Now You See Me, with Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, and Woody Harrelson. If we can tame those distribution monsters, down the road we’ll get The Heat, a popular summer flick with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.

Thursday Night Films are indie flicks for the folks who prefer their movies with a different kind of tooth. This coming week, catch Before Midnight, a critically acclaimed romantic drama directed by Richard Linklater and starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Popular review site Rotten Tomatoes gave this third installment of Linklater’s romantic saga, set in Greece and dealing with the complexities of love, five stars. The only monsters in this movie are the kind we create ourselves.

Our goal of three theatres will mean variety, with lots of films to choose from, performance, and more. If it feels at times like a monster of a project, it’s continually tamed by the goodwill, generosity, and hard work of our supporters and volunteers.

Anne DeGrace is the president of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society. Large Popcorn, Extra Butter runs every two weeks. If you have a memory to share please email anne@civictheatre.ca. Find out movie schedules, membership, and more at civictheatre.ca.

 

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