Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who helped us "take back the movies" in Denver and Aurora, and to all those who encouraged us from afar.  Keep spreading the light!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programs:

Wicked Smaht Thoughts

The Lion and the Bull: Thoughts on an Intelligent Life of Faith

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The news keep spreading!

In the past few days since we took Denver and Aurora to the movies, more people across the country have heard about and been touched by the event.

  • First, there was the great story by 9 News Denver (click to view), which was picked up by news stations all over the country, as well as by USA Today video.
  • Boston news station WHDH 7 even picked up the story (click to view), but they seem to have missed the Boston connection. How could you not notice the Red Sox hat on that handsome young man?
  • On Monday, Hollywood got into the act, with first a Hollywood Reporter article (click for article) and then a post on Perez Hilton's blog (click for article)
  • Locally, we have a very nice post from a woman who was surprised by free tickets on Saturday. This is why we love living in Colorado (click for post)
The good news keeps spreading, and we hope that more people will be encouraged by this event to reach out to strangers and spread some light!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Telling stories

The movies are our last great exercise in communal storytelling, so it seems appropriate to share a few stories from the Take Back the movies event this weekend.  Here are some of the stories we heard.

First, from the manager of the Cinema Latino, one of the only Spanish-language theaters in the Denver area and one of the theaters that participated in Take Back the Movies:
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for such a wonderful thing you did for many people here in the Aurora community and the movie industry. This state is desperately in need of people like you after all the many things that have affected us directly and indirectly. 
On behalf of the many customers that were surprised today with the movie treat we thank you! On behalf of all Cinema Latino staff we thank you for this wonderful gift that reassures us as employees that as long as there are people like you out there we are blessed. On behalf of the movie industry we thank you for shedding a little light in the darkness. Once again we thank you and God Bless You!

And from Scott Frazier, the team captain at the Cinema Latino location:

"We had a great time – probably talked to 200 people and gave them the opportunity for the free movie. Probably about half of them took us up on the offer and went in the theater. We spread out around the mall as well so the people we were talking to were not just the ones heading into the theater anyway. A couple of homeless guys pushing carts included – they really liked the free movie tickets! 



"We walked in the surrounding stores and invited the working staff; they loved it also. Great responses. People calling and inviting their friends. People running home to get other family members, then strolling by 15-20 minutes later in a small group smiling and thanking us again for the free movie."




















Some of the Denver volunteers performed impromptu interviews during the lulls between groups:



Here are some other pictures from our other locations:








Thank you all for the great day!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Time to turn on the lights

We made a positive difference in the world today.

For the mom who brought her teenage son and his friends to the Arapahoe Crossing theater in Aurora to hand out tickets in memory of their friends who were killed in the shootings on July 20, this was a chance to respond positively to fear and grief.  She wept as she told the story of the friends who were shot and the daughter who barely missed going to that same theater herself.

For the woman who had been afraid to go back to the movies after hearing about the shootings, it was the gentle push required to face her fears while strangers encouraged her onward.

For the father with six boys whose smile lit up the room when he heard that they were all going to the movies for free, this was a blessing of unexpected kindness.

For the family who responded cynically at first to the offer of a free ticket, this was a glimpse of something they'd never seen before:

"Do you guys work for the movie theater?"
"Nope."
"Well, who's paying for the tickets?"
"We are."
"What are you, rich?"
"Nope. A bunch of us wanted to show that there are more good people in the world than bad."
"Really?!?"
"Yep."
A huge smile. "That's amazing!"

For the 60+ volunteers who showed up, some just showing up at the theaters without even asking beforehand, it was a chance to join together with strangers to bless other strangers, to show love in the face of hate and bravery in the face of violence.

For more than 1300 people who received the gift of a movie today, it was a chance for the rest of their community to reach out and show them they were loved.  Hopefully, it inspired them to pass that love along to others when they left the theater, walking out of the darkness and into the light.

You did good, Denver.  You did a lot of good.



Thursday, August 9, 2012

We're Ready to Take Back the Movies

$9000 in contributions

1300 tickets

50 volunteers

We're ready.

See you all on Saturday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Let's Take Denver and Aurora to the Movies!

Denver and Aurora, we want to take you to the movies.  Here are the theaters where we will be giving out tickets on Saturday, August 11.

Watch for the Take Back the Movies volunteers in the black T-shirts handing out tickets starting around 4:00 at the following venues.  We will stay until all tickets have been handed out:


AMC Arapahoe Crossing 16
6696 South Parker Road Aurora, CO 80016

Aurora Plaza 8 Cinemas – Cinema Latino (Free tickets will be at the box office)
777 Peoria St. Aurora, CO 80011

Regal Continental Stadium 10
3635 S. Monaco Pkwy. Denver, CO 80237

UA Denver Pavilions Stadium 15
500 16th St. Denver, CO 80202

AMC Westminster Promenade 24
10655 Westminster Blvd. Westminster, CO 80020

We're Spreading Some Light in the Dark!

On July 20, one man crept into a movie theater in Aurora, CO, and attacked hundreds of people who just wanted to see a movie.  He did what he could to spread darkness over the Greater Denver area and the country as a whole.  We're doing what we can to spread a little light in response.


On August 11, we're taking Denver to the movies. We're going to go to as many theaters as we can and pay for everyone's movie tickets.  Our message is simple: "Tonight, the movie's on us. Go, enjoy. This isn't a fundraiser, it's not a memorial service. Some jerk tried to steal a night of fun from all of us. Tonight, we're giving it back."

Want to join us?  Here's how:

Take Denver to the Movies
If you want to help us take Denver to the movies, you can donate using the button below.  All proceeds will go directly to buying tickets at movie theaters in Aurora and the Greater Denver area.


Contributions are now closed.  Thank you everyone for your support!

 
If you'd like to talk to someone directly about how you or your company can participate, email us at takebackthemovies@gmail.com



Take Your Town to the Movies
If you live outside the Denver area and want to join us by taking your town to the movies, here's what you can do:

If you want to keep things simple, just go to the movies with a group on August 11, scatter people throughout the line, and have each person pay for the people behind them in line.  If you want to go bigger...

First, contact the company that manages your local theater and purchase pre-paid movie passes.  Contact information for some of the major chains is listed below.


On August 11, take your stack of movie passes to the theater and hand them out to every person who comes to the ticket window, until they're all used up.  If people ask you why their admission is free, tell them, "We wanted to spread a little light."

You may want to talk to the movie theater manager in advance, to explain what you want to do and make sure they're ready for you to be there.  We're trying to make this as easy as possible for theaters to handle within their existing systems.  After all, the point here is to bless people, not to give a box office crew a collective headache.  If you ask nicely enough, they may even throw in a few passes on their own, so you can reach even more people.

Once you've purchased your tickets, please post in the comments here and let us know where you are and how many tickets you're buying for your community.


Give to the Funds That Support the Aurora Shooting Victims
If you'd prefer to give to the funds that support the victims of the Aurora shootings, please go to https://givingfirst.org/.

Let's go spread some light!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Special Offer from CardGnome

In times of trouble, we can find comfort in reaching out to those we love.  Our friends at CardGnome are making a special offer to Take Back the Movies supporters.  Until August 11, you can use the code "TakeBackTheMovies" at www.cardgnome.com and send a free custom greeting card to a loved one.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August 4 update

We're moving from "spread the word" mode to "make it all work" mode, but even so we're still getting some great attention for our gift to the Aurora/Denver area.

Media Coverage:

Logistics:
  • Volunteers: We have quite a few volunteers already to help hand out tickets at the theaters on August 11, but we could use a few more.  Email takebackthemovies@gmail.com if you want to participate.
  • Theaters: We are still talking to several area theaters about their participation in the event, so we will publish the final list early next week.  We plan to hand out tickets between 4 and 6, so that families are able to participate, too.
One more reminder: Monday, August 7, is the last day to make a contribution to Take Back the Movies, so if you were thinking about helping us take Denver to the movies, now's the time.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Date for Take Back the Movies Event - August 11

Thanks to the overwhelming response to this event, we need a little more time to get everything in place.  We'll now be "taking back the movies" on Saturday, August 11 with free admission to several theaters in the Aurora and greater Denver area.

In order to ensure that every dollar we collect goes toward the purchase of movie tickets, we will stop accepting donations on Monday, August 6.  

Watch this space for updates on which theaters will be part of the event.  We'll post the list as soon as we have it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28 update

In the news:
  • There's a great article (link) in Parade magazine online about Take Back the Movies, and it represents the first national coverage of what we're trying to do.
  • In the first independent pickup of the story, 10 News in Sacramento, CA, ran a piece in their newscast on Thursday as well (link).
  • KOWB in Laramie, WY, posted an article as well (link)
  • We've seen over 8000 hits on the site.  Keep spreading the word!

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 26 Update

Fundraising
Between corporate and individual contributions, we now have enough money to purchase 1000 tickets!  This is very exciting, but we want to go bigger.  We're talking to local theaters, as well as the corporate folks at AMC, Cinemark (owners of Century Theaters), and Regal/UA to see whether they'll offer deeper discounts or a matching donation of tickets so we can fill more theaters on the 4th.

Media Coverage
  • Jason was on 9 News Denver by phone yesterday (click for video) and in the studio today (not posted online yet, but we're working on it) talking about the event.  
  • The story has also been picked up by 10 News in Stockton, CA.  
  • Interviews with a radio station and a couple of newspapers should also yield more links soon