‘Interview’ brings throng to Minden | RecordCourier.com

‘Interview’ brings throng to Minden

by Sarah Hauck
Ironwood Cinema owner Jim Sheehan takes a ticket from a moviegoer Friday afternoon in Minden.
Brad Coman |

The controversy over showing “The Interview” turned out to be a Christmas present for Minden’s Ironwood Stadium Cinemas 8, the only Northern Nevada theater to show the film on opening day after alleged North Korean threats.

The theater had its best box office day in five years, bringing in more than 350 people from across Western Nevada.

“It was the biggest day in the theater in the last five years, and we only had two shows a day,” owner Jim Sheehan said. “It was Christmas, and a Thursday. You don’t usually think of those as a big box office days. We’re very happy.”

Sheehan said he always had his sights set on showing the film.

“We had planned on playing this picture all along back in the middle of October,” Sheehan said. “It was going to be a major release for Sony Pictures, along with ‘Annie.’ At the time it was just a good comedy to play at Christmas. It is kind of crude and sophomoric comedy, but there is an audience out there for it. We’ve played 120 movies this year and this was just going to be another movie, although a pretty good one. We never saw the problems with Sony. It never occurred to us not to play it.”

“The Interview,” a political comedy about an interview that turns into an assassination attempt of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un, was pulled from its original premiere date in early October after reaction from North Korea. Sony Pictures’ computer systems were allegedly hacked by “Guardians of Peace,” a group with North Korean ties.

The movie was canceled for theatrical release by Sony Pictures on Dec. 17, but was made available for online viewing and limited theatre showings including at Ironwood 8 Cinemas.

Of the 330 theaters nationwide showing the film, none have reported any kind of threat to their patrons or their computer systems as expected by the larger theaters that chose not to show the film.

“There was no credible threats to the safety of our customers, which was our biggest concern,” Sheehan said. “It was a big story, but like I told the Sheriff’s Office ‘I don’t think there is a North Korean terrorist with a boarding pass in hand to Minden. With the 330 theaters that showed the film, I think it gives light that it was a hollow threat.”

“The Interview” appeared on the screen for sold-out audiences on its first day at Ironwood.

Sheehan said the theater was so busy that he pitched in tearing tickets and selling popcorn to the larger than normal crowds.

The response to the theater’s choice to show the film was generally positive.

“I had 18 people, who came up to me personally and thanked me for showing the movie, both before and after the showing. They just like the idea because they want to be the ones to decide what movie they want to see. As a business person I just want to make those movies available and to have them tell me ‘This is a great movie so lets keep it longer,’ or ‘It was OK, let’s get it out of here and let’s bring in a new one.’”

Normally a movie will stay at the theater for about two weeks before being replaced by newer material, however, because of the positive response, “The Interview” may be able to take off its coat and stay awhile.

“With the response from (Dec. 25) and no one else playing it in the area, I think it will be here for three or four weeks,” Sheehan said.

People have come from Carson City and Reno to view the film, and Sheehan plans to keep them coming back.

“This is a big event for us. We like having this because we’re introducing our theater to a new group of people who in the past either didn’t come down 395 or may not have even known we were here. We want to introduce ourselves to our new people and hopefully show them that we have a great theater, easy parking and the best popcorn in the Valley.”

“The Interview” will show at 12:40 p.m., 3:40 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. today.

For complete movie listings visit http://www.ironwoodcinemas.com.