Some people get a runner’s high, others are excited when they enjoy their favorite craft, but many have found pure happiness when they go to a movie theater and watch a genuinely gratifying movie. On September 26th, the Grafton-Stovall Theatre held a pre-screening event for the movie “Happy Death Day,” brought to JMU through Universal Studios and the University Program Board (UPB).
Junior SMAD major Tyler Owens, the Director of Film for UPB, partnered up with senior SMAD major Hayley Hall, the Universal Pictures campus representative, to plan, advertise, and present the pre-screening of this movie in Grafton.
Owens explained that Hall approached him with the opportunity of bringing this film to campus a few weeks before it comes out to theaters. “The event was planned in about three weeks and the process involved planning the ideas for marketing, giveaways, and decorations,” Owens explained.
Promoting the event involved posting on various social media accounts with the inclusion of UPB’s partnerships with Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Universal Studios. Owens explained that although advertising through social media helps, the “most successful way to market these types of events is by word–of–mouth” around campus.
One movie-goer, senior communications major Farrar, reinforced the word–of–mouth system. Farrar came to the pre-screening event because she’d believed it would be a great movie and she’d also heard interesting things about the movie, so she expected “for there to be some plot twists.”
Based on its previews, one would think, going into this scary movie, that it would solely involve thrills and gore. The horror promised was not too much to bear and, honestly, this movie was super funny. Set on a college campus, the movie was relatable through all the trope- gore and thrills. Laughter was heard over the sound track throughout the theater when characters made a humorous comment.
Senior communications major Jamie Moss added that she was “pleasantly surprised with the comedy in the film and how it was a solid balance between the terror and humor.“
What the audience seemed to have really enjoyed about the event was being able to react to it alongside their fellow dukes. Going to see a movie in Grafton means that you are all experiencing the quality of the film together. It seemed the consensus for the pre-screening event was overall a positive experience. Various moments in the film caused everyone to erupt into applause, and the audience seemed pleased with the final product, based on the post-movie chatter. The wonderful feeling that goes along with watching a great movie was intensified because watchers were able to enjoy it with everyone in the audience. Plus, being able to enjoy a free film, before it has officially come out into regular theaters, is a perk that the Dukes were able to appreciate.