Live from New York… it’s Thursday Night!

Ron Van TimmerenBy Ron VanTimmeren
Vice President, Programming

The man responsible for – by his count – over $2 billion in boxoffice revenue for movies like THE BOURNE IDENTITY, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, MR. & MRS SMITH, JUMPER, SWINGERS and more stopped by Celebration! Cinema North, Grand Rapids Thursday (12/16/10) live via Skype from his New York home to Q & A with the audience of his latest political/human drama FAIR GAME.

Skyping with Doug Liman. Photo by Thomas Hanley.

Liman Family Politics
Turns out Mr. Liman comes by the subject of political transgression and drama naturally. His father, Arthur Liman was chief counsel for the Senate during the Iran-Contra Affair in the mid 80’s. The senior Liman’s picture hangs on the wall in the background of the skype shot. But he points out that FAIR GAME is much more than a “political thriller” movie, because, he says, “nobody watches that kind of movie”. Instead he’s telling the story of Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) and Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), a couple living near Washington DC and raising two young children while managing a career . . . in the (secret) CIA (Plame). As recent headline reported, they just happened to wind up as part of one the biggest government scandals since Iran-Contra when Plame’s secret identity as a NOC (Not Official Cover) was blown for political purposes by the Bush Whitehouse. The finished product that is FAIR GAME the movie is very well made, a compelling and thought-provoking film.

Liman’s Knowledge
Liman is very well spoken on the subject, in part because he and screenwriters Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth gleaned the facts for the movie from the documents of the Scooter Libby trial. Liman pointed out that politicized “intelligence” is bad for our country and that the abuse of power should not go unpunished. Lives were lost in the Middle East as a result of the leak that Plame was CIA . . . brought home with a personal touch in the movie as we hear from a scientist in Iraq that there was no nuclear weapons program and no weapons of mass destruction . . . the reasons we were given for the decision to go to war.

Join the Conversation!
FAIR GAME is film as art in the best sense, in that it moves you to want to do something. Go to http://www.fairgame-movie.com and join the Fair Game conversation! Liman is participating in some very grass-roots preaching – like a live skype session with a movie audience in Grand Rapids, Michigan – and anywhere else to continue his quest for justice by continuing the conversation anytime, anywhere.

FAIR GAME will play at Celebration! Cinema North through December 21 then move over to the Celebration! Cinema Woodland on December 22. Don’t miss it!

Categories: Uncategorized

Promoting “Faster” through Safety Awareness

By Amanda Aguilar
Operations Manager, Celebration! Cinema Benton Harbor

When I learned about the movie Faster I realized there was a great opportunity to spread safety awareness to the community. Being a family based theater I always look for ways to promote the more adult-oriented films to families of all types.

With this movie focusing so much on weapons and violence I reached out to our local Berrien County Sportsmen’s Club to take part in our opening weekend Faster Celebration! I also contacted Czar’s 505 to do drinking and driving awareness. The American Red Cross and Save a Stray agreed to come out to help promote community involvement.

Cars & Dogs: A big hit
On Saturday November 27th , cars were displayed in front of the cinema and great community partners came out to speak with the community and our guests about how they could make a difference. Local radio station Rock 107.1 joined the fun, passed out prizes, and entered people to win a Faster prize pack! Everyone seemed to be enjoying their time at each booth and petting all the grown dogs, when 6 little puppies showed up and stole the show! Each booth agreed after seeing all the attention the puppies attracted that they were taking puppies everywhere they go from now on!

Community Involvement
By the end of the event The American Red Cross had 3 donation appointments, and two new sponsors for blood drives. Save a stray found a lost dog and reunited him with his family. They also adapted out one dog to a new loving home! The Berrien County Sportsmen’s club and Czar’s 505 were able to spread awareness to new members of the community and Rock 107.1 passed out tons of goodies! Our Grand Prize Pack went to a gentleman named Todd who enjoyed a Faster movie T-shirt, hat and watch!

Thank You to all our great sponsors and everyone who came out and supported such a great cause!

A Busy November for Celebration! Banquets & Catering

November 29, 2010 1 comment

By April Butler
Celebration! Banquets & Catering Sales & Event Manager

We have had a wonderfully busy month at Celebration! Banquets & Catering! Here are some highlights:

November 1
We catered an offsite breakfast for 80 people from Superior Asphalt that “can’t wait to use us again.” This doesn’t seem all that exciting, but it really is when you consider that they booked on October 29 (for perspective, that is Friday afternoon to Monday morning – a minor miracle!).

April with Dr. Ballard

November 4
You may or may not have noticed a little boat taking over the lobby at Celebration! North. The Young Presidents’ Organization was here for their event, “Unsinkable.” They brought in ‘Ghosts of the Abyss’ and special guest Dr. Bob Ballard, the discoverer of the Titanic (Several of us got to meet him!).  Check out pictures from this event on our Facebook page!

November 9
We were able to support a newer organization, The Prima Donna Project, a “connection company focused on providing upscale events for a diverse group of fashion focused/nightlife/entertainment movers, shakers & tastemakers in a growing community.” PDP brought in some of these fashionistas for an evening of red carpets, networking, snacks and a screening of ‘For Colored Girls.’ They had a modest turnout for their first event, and are looking forward to many more with us.

November 11
The Wave Room was the venue for a fundraiser for Guitars for Vets. The organization raised over $500 to outfit veterans with new guitars and help them bring their talents to the community. Celebration! Banquets also got to try out some different ways of doing food. For this event we offered food on a cash sale purchase, similar to the concession stand. This worked really well for the group and is a great idea for future fundraisers.

November 15/16
These two days were a little estrogen heavy and Brad, our Catering Manager, took it like a champ. On Monday, 11/15 we hosted Girls’ Lunch in the Wave Room. This is a networking organization that meets monthly at different venues. They have met here before and love coming back. On Tuesday, 11/16 we hosted the premiere of ‘Hot Flash Havoc’ which was put on by the Grand Rapids Women’s Health Center. Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries followed a screening of the movie. If you see a red feather in the building it probably came from one of the hundreds of boas worn that evening as well.

November 18
You might have heard of this little thing called the Harry Potter Wizard’s Ball. What more is there to say? The Wizard’s Ball was magical, amazing and inspiring – another success and a privilege to be a part of.

I should note that Sundays really were the day of rest this entire month. From November 1-21 the only days Celebration! Banquets did NOT have an event were November 7, 14 and 21. We’re looking forward to a great holiday party season starting next week!

Categories: Uncategorized

Getting Ready for Harry Potter

November 16, 2010 170 comments

Jeremy KressBy Jeremy Kress
Director of Marketing & Promotions

Dust off your wands, get your cloaks from the dry cleaners, and get ready for Harry Potter!

Over the weekend, Celebration! Cinema Mount Pleasant sold out all 11 of their auditoriums for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. That is 1,471 people all watching the first part of the magical finale all together at midnight at our Mount Pleasant location.

Add to that another 43 Sold Out shows at other Celebration! Cinema locations throughout Michigan, and you have a total of 12,400 people (as of 10am Tuesday) experiencing a truly magical night that they have been waiting years for.

Digital Projection Helps!
We used to be limited with how many screens we could play a movie on based on the number of film prints we had in the theatre. When we changed to digital projection a few years back, that all changed and we now have the flexibility to keep adding screens until all of our theatres are playing.

This allows for us to add more screens as they sell out – which means that all of our theatres (except Mount Pleasant) still have tickets available for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter.

Many people have asked how that compares to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  For our midnight shows then, we had just over 9,000 tickets sold for the midnight hour, so we have already passed that record! However, we still have a ways to go to beat the all time record, currently held by Twilight: Eclipse at 18,674 tickets sold. With 4 days left and another 80+ screens available, we will see if the Potter magic can beat out the power of the summer vampire.

The Wizard’s Ball
Some special Muggles will get an early sneak preview of the film at The Wizard’s Ball at Celebration! Grand Rapids North as a benefit for Make A Wish Foundation and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

With a strolling supper, live entertainment, and auctions of great prize packages – it’s an event to remember. Last we had heard, tickets were still available for this event, but are going fast. For more information, visit the Wizard’s Ball website.

The IMAX Experience
The other hot ticket is the IMAX experience of Harry Potter. Tickets for the IMAX midnight showings sold out in just a matter of hours – and many other showings for opening weekend have also sold out. If you want to be transported you to new worlds that captivate the imagination and make you wonder, “How do they do that?” IMAX makes you feel the full emotional impact of the visionary creators’ dream. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows IMAX Experience is only available at Celebration! Grand Rapids North and Lansing through December 16th (since Tron Legacy opens December 17th) – so be sure to catch it before its gone!

Win a Prize Pack!
To celebrate the opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, we have teamed up with Warner Brothers to offer a special prize package just for our blog readers! The package includes 2 tickets to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a movie T-Shirt, Hat, Sweatshirt, keychain, & tattoo!

To enter, just leave a comment telling us which Harry Potter movie is your favorite and why! (Be sure to fill out your email address in the comments so we can contact the winner.)

Winner to be contacted on Friday, November 19th! Share the good news about Harry Potter and our giveaway with the button below:

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Celebration! Cinema

November 5, 2010 16 comments

By Jessie Leugs
Celebration! Cinema Marketing Intern

The Rocky Horror Picture Show EventThis past weekend, Celebration! Cinema partnered with WLAV and WHTS to host a Rocky Horror Picture Show event.  This event featured a pre-screening party in the Wave Room and then a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie on the big screen.  At the pre-party, guests were able to enjoy beverages, display their Rocky Horror-themed costumes, and participate in a karaoke contest.  Inside the auditorium, a costume contest was conducted, with prizes given to the best-dressed man and woman.  The number of people in costume, the enthusiasm of the karaoke-singers, as well as the tumultuous cheers from the crowd clearly showed the audience’s love of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and their excitement for this event.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Event

The Setup & Props
Guests were lining up for the event hours before it was scheduled to begin.  Once the Wave Room was setup, the doors were opened and the fans started flooding in.  The first 50 guests to arrive to the Wave Room were given a goody bag filled with party favors like hats and noisemakers, and also some unusual items such as a bag of rice.  In addition, newspapers, pieces of toast, and rolls of toilet paper were available for all guests to take.


What’s it all about?
Having never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I couldn’t imagine why guests were encouraged to pick up these items.  It took a conversation with a kind guest (and extreme Rocky Horror fan) to educate me about the specifics of the cult classic that is The Rocky Horror Picture ShowThe Rocky Horror Picture Show EventThe guest told me that the film requires a lot of audience participation.  Audience members are encouraged to actually do some of the things that the actors are seen doing onscreen, such as throw rice during the opening wedding scene and cover their heads with a newspaper when two characters run through the rain.  Avid-fans also know to shout The Rocky Horror Picture Show Eventout comments at the screen during certain parts of the film.  This audience was no exception.  Guests cheered, clapped, laughed, sang along with the songs, threw rice, and participated in countless other ways.  There was no doubt that the audience was having fun.


The Aftermath
I’m very glad that Celebration! Cinema was able to host this event and that I was able to be a small part of it.  I’m sure there was quite a mess of rice and silly string to clean up once all the guests had left the auditorium, but I think it was worth it.  The guests clearly enjoyed themselves.  I believe that the hardworking staff of Celebration!, WLAV, and WHTS hosted a memorable event for the guests and fulfilled the theater’s mission of creating a “superior shared entertainment experience.”  Through this event, strangers were able to come together and celebrate their shared love of The Rocky Horror
Picture Show
.

 

Costume Contest for Dogs at Celebration! Lansing

By Amanda Johnson
Promotions Manager, Celebration! Cinema Lansing

 

Top 3 Dog Costumes

Top 3 Dog Costumes

On Friday, October 29th, Celebration! Cinema Lansing housed 94.9 WMMQ’s annual costume contest for dogs. Set up started at 6am and the radio station arrived at 7am to set up their equipment. Soldan’s Feed and Pet Supplies was also on hand to give each contestant a goodie bag for coming out.

 

The judges were Rich Michaels, Deb Hart and Shannon from WMMQ, Jeff Johnson from Bake n’ Cakes, Lansing City Council member Kathie Dunbar, Comedian Mike Malone and Julie Palmer from the Capital Area Humane Society.

54 contestants braved the cold weather for their chance in front of the judges. There were a lot of different costumes. Judges saw things like a chick magnet, a pumpkin and a ballerina. Spectators even got to see a dog jump out of a cannon! Mike Malone commented that he has never been to a costume contest for dogs, it must be a Michigan thing (he is from Chicago). It took about an hour and 15 minutes for each contestant to have their time in front of the judges. There were breaks in between for the radio station to give weather updates and play some music. Once every dog was shown to the judges, they went inside (where it was warm) to pick their winner.

After some deliberating, the judges finally had their top 3. Honorable mentions went out to the Dogfather, Piglet and Eeyore, Chilean miner, the mailman and several others. Third place went out to E.T., Elliot and Gertie. They showed us the iconic scene of Elliot riding off with E.T. in the basket of his bike. Second place went to the dog cannon. First place went to Gene Simmons from Kiss. Gene Simmons even had his own stage with working lights.

My Trip to ShowEast

October 22, 2010 2 comments

By Jeremy Bronson
E-Marketing Coordinator

Last week, I was able to attend ShowEast, the annual motion picture trade show and convention in Orlando. Since my job deals largely with online marketing and website work, it was great to see what goes into all the other aspects of theatre programming, exhibition technology, and our relationships with the movie studios.

Getting Around
The ballrooms and lobby areas of the Orlando World Center Marriott were converted to host several hundred attendees hungry for new movies. Posters for upcoming pictures lined the hallways and a trade show floor was full of new offerings. Everything from 4k digital projection systems to theatre seats to concession technology was on hand. In fact, we even saw the company that provides our online ticketing software there and we were able to troubleshoot a website issue live from the trade show floor.

Meetings
We had several meetings with representatives from studios (Sony, Paramount, Fox, etc.) We catch up on what movies they have coming out soon and talk about how we’d like to promote them. For example: Can we get large stands for this movie? Should we bring in a local classic car company to help promote that one? Will we be able to give away a merchandise packs for this one? (Etc.) These were scheduled with just a few people and occasionally involved tasty offerings or dinner meetings.

Attendees
The convention draws people from all aspects of the movie business, and companies of all sizes. For example, one night we had dinner with a couple who runs a one-screen movie theatre in Canada. Their showtimes never change, so they distribute their upcoming titles on a flyer that local businesses post in the window!Morning Glory

Presentations
Throughout the day we attended different presentations and panel discussions. The keynote address the first day was about movie piracy.  We learned about how it happens, and new technology that’s being introduced to combat it – like infrared cameras that detect other cameras, take photos of the operator, and automatically send them to the police. The frequency of piracy is always shocking to me, since nothing compares to the immersive experience of seeing a new movie in a full house on the big screen. There was also a panel discussion about independent movie releases.

Screenings
What would an event like this be without getting to watch some upcoming movies? We saw 9 movies during the week. Each one was introduced by someone from the studio that’s distributing it. They spoke about the release schedule for the movie, as well as the other movies they’re distributing this year that they’re looking forward to. They asked us not to blog, tweet, or post online about any of them, so I won’t say what we saw… however, I can say there are still many great movies coming out this year!

Recognition
Several of the nights included recognition of valuable members of the movie industry, and featured recognition into the “ShowEast Hall of Fame” for those with particularly valuable contrbutions.

Flick
Although my co-workers and I were traveling on business, it didn’t stop Flick from visiting Downtown Disney and getting his picture taken with several Disney characters.

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