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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA student union to offer free movie showings as of fall 2013 semester

A new school year will bring free movies, through additional funding for the Gallagher Theater on campus.

The Arizona Student Unions was allocated student service fee funding of $30,000 to show free movies. Currently, movies cost students three dollars and occasionally there is a free movie once or twice a semester.

“[Showing free movies will] help us engage LGBTQ and the Women’s Resource Center and other focus groups that can bring in cool movie series that are not blockbusters,” said Todd Millay, marketing manager for the Arizona Student Unions. “Because we don’t have to make money off of showing things, we can provide them opportunities for them to show cool series and introduce students to something new without having to charge.”

Gallagher averages about 80 to 120 people per movie when they charge money for a movie, Millay
said. When there is a free movie shown, attendance increases to 350, which is capacity for Gallagher.

Some students said that they were more likely to see a movie on campus now because of the free admission.

“I’ve really never been to see a movie there because it’s always been times when I’m not here [on campus],” said Lindsay Holmes, an ecology and evolutionary freshman. “But if it’s free, maybe I’ll come see.”

Brenna Wagner, a chemical engineering freshman, and Samantha Springs, an environmental science freshman, said that they go to Gallagher already to watch movies on campus and said they will go next year if it’s free to attend as well.

One of the biggest challenges with deciding to offer free movies was how to make money, Millay said. The Unions didn’t care to be profitable, but at the same time, couldn’t afford to lose money either, Millay added.

“We did the calculations and what we found out is we needed about $30,000 to help us overcome the cost of buying the movies because they cost about $1,500 a pop,” Millay said. “So if we offer seven to 10 movies, that’s $15,000 and if we get 100 people to come and charge them $3, that’s $300.”

Arizona Student Unions staff went to the Student Services fee board and pitched a proposal that would help bring their costs to zero so they could afford to provide free movies, Millay explained.

“We hope that the students pack it out every movie next year,” Millay said. “If we have a full movie theater and we can prove that at the end of the year to the student service fee board, then it’s likely that they would renew the funding.”

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