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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Gallagher Theater offers free movie screenings through third-party film companies

Amy Phelps
Amy Phelps/The Daily Wildcat Students watch “The Lone Ranger” at the Gallagher Theatre on Thursday.

This semester, through third-party film companies, Gallagher Theater is offering UA students a chance to see movies before they’re out in theaters.

This is the first year that the theater, located in the Student Union Memorial Center, is offering free movies, which are planned for screening on Thursdays and Sundays.

“Different representatives that work for the universities are reps for the movie companies,” said Thomas Dotterer, a student lead for the theater and a sociology senior. “They contact us and their job is to set up these free screenings.”

One of the main providers of the advanced screenings is Olson Commmunications Inc., a public relations and marketing company, according to Yuri Makino, an associate professor of the School of Theatre, Film and Television.

The free screenings are mainly funded by student fees, which provide the Gallagher Theater roughly $30,000, according to Melissa Carreño, the student engagement marketing assistant and a marketing senior.

“Students’ money is going toward this program,” Carreño said. “It gets them to come in, be engaged and more involved in school. It is something to enjoy on your downtime after class when you need a break.”

While the theater pays $1,000 per regular screening using the student fees, the third-party film companies pay for the pre-screenings.

These companies involve many American universities to pre-screen their films, according to Carreño, allowing film companies to get feedback on films before they reach the general public.

“It is kind of like a marketing research tool,” Carreño said, “This is more promotion for them. Students can watch the movie before anyone else and then spread the word. They [film companies] can also see the reactions and see how it is actually going to perform in theaters when it does release.”

For a recent premiere, the third-party company asked students to create a Vine video to promote the movie, according to Carreño.

Social media and word of mouth help promote new releases, Dotterer said.

This marketing research also asks students to give feedback following the screening.

“I’ve heard of the free movie nights, but I’ve never been able to go,” said Isabella Stepanovic, a veterinary science sophomore. “I would be open to going to one in the future.”

Students are starting to catch on to the free opportunities to get involved on campus, Dotterer said. The pre-screenings always sell out and, depending on the movie, for regular screenings 50 to 100 students typically attend, Dotterer added.

Trevor Liberty, a philosophy, politics, economics and law freshman, said he saw Don Jon in the Gallagher Theater recently and said he plans to continue attending the screenings if they play movies he is interested in.

“It was a good movie,” Liberty said. “I’m glad they do that. I wouldn’t have seen Don Jon otherwise.”

Upcoming screenings include Whitehouse Down, Pacific Rim and R.I.P.D.

“You don’t have to go too far,” Carreño said. “Our prices will beat any others, there’s no cost for students when they have their CatCard. We want all students to come in and take advantage of this opportunity that they are contributing to.”

– Follow Emily Bregger @ebregger_news

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