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SUB works to bring hit films to campus

Kate McClelland | Thursday, October 18, 2007

Recent rescheduling controversies for Student Union Board (SUB) weekend movie showings have not affected attendance, SUB officials said.

“We try to get movies that have been popular at the box office or that we personally have heard good reviews about,” said Meghan Kelly, co-director of programming for SUB. “We like to bring them to students before they come out on DVD.”

There was a problem, however, surrounding the showing of “Hairspray,” which was originally scheduled to be shown during the first weekend in October. It has now been pushed back until the weekend after fall break.

Many students were excited about seeing the hit musical and planned to attend, but were disappointed when “1408” was shown instead. Ironically, it was the film’s success that caused the delay.

“We felt really bad,” Kelly said. “But there was really nothing we could do. The movies we are able to show depend on what movies are being released by the motion picture companies. The company that produced ‘Hairspray’ [New Line Cinema] decided at the last minute not to release the picture to Swank [Motion Pictures] because it was still so successful in the theaters.”

All of the movies SUB presents come from a company called Swank Motion Pictures, Inc., which buys the rights to films directly from motion picture companies. The company in turn rents the rights and the filmstrips to SUB on a per night or per weekend basis.

That is why there is a $3 admissions charge for students, Kelly said.

“We have to charge because the rights and the movies are quite expensive,” Kelly said. “The proceeds from admission prices go directly toward paying Swank for the movie.”

Many students feel the price is right – especially in comparison to the cost of a movie in a regular movie theater – and attendance at SUB movies this semester has been solid, Kelly said.

“Attendance depends on what movie is showing and what else is happening on-campus on the same nights as the movie,” she said. “Attendance has been pretty good so far this semester, but there has also been a lot of other events going on.”

Still, students turned out in high numbers for “Ratatouille” this past weekend and, while the official numbers have not been calculated, it was probably the most successful film yet this semester-although “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Ocean’s 13” had fairly high turnouts as well.

“We definitely try to get the best movies that we can, and to make them fun for people to go to,” Kelly said.