Break out the popcorn!
“The Glass Castle” movie will make its debut Friday afternoon in Welch.
That’s big news because the local theater wasn’t among the 1,400 nationwide originally selected for its release.
Welch folks weren’t happy with the slight.
Most especially Delegate Ed Evans, who was determined to change corporate minds and bring the movie home where it belongs.
“I have to tell you that this is one of those times when I just wasn’t going to take’ no’ for an answer. I just wasn’t,” he said.
His numerous phone calls to the movie theater’s headquarters in Beckley and the California production company weren’t in vain.
Things really began to change after U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin responded to his plea for help.
“One of the Lion’s Gate officials told me he’d never been contacted by a senator about making sure a community would get to see a movie,” Evans said.
Manchin and Evans had chatted over the weekend at Iaeger’s Centennial Celebration, so it made sense to reach out for help from Washington.
“I know how much Sen. Manchin cares about McDowell County, and he sure proved it again. He understood how important this is to Welch and our people,” Evans said.
After all, the town and its people figure prominently in the storyline.
It’s the story of journalist Jeannette Walls’ difficult early life that included tough times growing up in poverty with unconventional parents in Welch.
Walls was just 17 years old when she left and headed to New York City.
Many local people knew Walls or her family members, so it was exciting to be part of the local filming that took place earlier this year.
Residents helped when filmmakers needed to recreate scenes from Walls’ past, including a football game complete with players, cheerleaders and cheering fans.
Most recently social media has been buzzing about the highly anticipated movie release.
— The Glass Castle (@GlassCastleFilm) May 18, 2017
Folks chatted excitedly online about one of their own making it big in Hollywood.
They posted memories of those earlier days, and were looking forward to seeing which local scenes would make it into the film.
Now, however, they were being left out when it mattered most.
They were going to drive to Beckley or Charleston to see it, and that wasn’t acceptable, Evans said.
Aside from the distance, some people simply don’t have the resources (money or transportation) to make the trip.
Now there’s a happy ending for all.
“I really do think I pulled off a coup, but it was for the people. After all, this movie is because of Welch, and Welch High School as well as the time this young lady spent living here,” Evans said.
Veteran educator Cathy Jack, who was instrumental in organizing folks when filming took place in May, had been disappointed the movie wasn’t going to be shown locally.
She and Walls were classmates and friends.
“Welch is where Jeannette spent a good part of the time when she was growing up. So it just felt wrong that our hometown was being left out. And now our students who were in the movie will also get to see it at home too,” Jack said.
“Now we can all see it together, and folks can make up their own minds how they feel about it instead of hearing from someone else.”
Marquee Cinemas McDowell 3’s first showing will be Friday at 3:40 p.m., followed by showings at 6:40 p.m. and 9:35 p.m.
Other times include: Saturday (12:40, 3:40, 6:40, and 9:35 p.m.), Sunday (12:40, 3:40, and 6:40 p.m), Monday through Thursday, Aug. 17 (4 and 7 p.m.).
Manager Kim Short said she’s happy the film will be shown locally, and predicts lots of folks will come see it.
Tickets can be purchased online, but people most will probably get them at the theater.
It will be shown in one of the three theaters at the facility.
Doors open 30 minutes before the movie begins.