April 28--From groceries and banking to auto repair and electronics, it seems you can find almost anything you need at Wal-Mart. This summer the retail-giant is adding even more to its shelves, marking the first time a major retailer has partnered with a film studio offering tickets for advanced movie screenings at participating theaters. Wheelersburg Cinema is participating in the new program, offering a special advanced screening of the upcoming film "Man of Steel."
The film opens in the United States on June 14, but beginning May 18 more than 3,700 Wal-Mart stores will be selling tickets to a special advanced screening of the film at participating theaters at 7 p.m. on June 13. Customers will be able to purchase up to four tickets per visit, and have the option to choose between 2D or 3D showings, where applicable.
"We're honored to be in participation with this. We do a lot of current events, but with Wal-Mart backing on this we should be able to get a little bit more recognition," said Wheelersburg Cinema General Manager Tim Shively.
He explained that the theater still shows movies in 35 millimeter format, not digital, and they need to boost their business in order to make the conversion before the end of the year. He's hoping that Superman will, indeed, come to the rescue.
"Customer service is second to none. We try to take care of our customers the best way we know how. We go over and above what I think you'll see anywhere else in the tri-state," Shively said.
Wheelersburg Cinema isn't the only local business hoping "Man of Steel" will attract more customers. James Higgins is the owner of Castle Comics in Portsmouth, and he also posts film reviews on YouTube.com as "dvdcollector1974." He said Wal-Mart's involvement will open a lot of new opportunities for the film and he hopes it will benefit the Wheelersburg theater and comics sold in his store.
"I think it will open it up to a broader audience. Maybe people who don't keep up with the movies, they will go into Wal-Mart and see that promotion and think 'Oh, my gosh, there's a new Superman movie!' and then buy their tickets right there. Because everybody goes to Wal-Mart," Higgins said.
From Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, "Man of Steel" stars Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman, directed by Zack Snyder ("Watchmen") and produced by Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight"). The movie also stars Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), and Russell Crowe (Jor-El).
In the film, a young Clark Kent learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.
With their Wal-Mart ticket, customers will also be able to pre-order the "Man of Steel" BluRay Combo Pack or HD Digital Download.
Higgins said that he hopes that when people see the movie at Wheelersburg, or the movie merchandise that hits Wal-Mart this weekend, they get excited enough to find the comics at his shop in Portsmouth. He hopes the same for this year's other comic book-based movies also -- such as "Iron Man 3" (May 3), "R.I.P.D." and "Red 2" (July 19), "The Wolverine" (July 26), "300: Rise of an Empire" (Aug. 2), "Kick Ass 2" (Aug. 16), "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" (Oct. 4) and "Thor: The Dark World" (Nov. 8).
"I seen the ('Man of Steel') trailer the day it was released. I watched it about five times and I kept finding new stuff. The other night I went and watched '42' and saw the trailer on the big screen. I don't know that I've ever been this excited about a comic book movie," Higgins said.
Shively said Wheelersburg Cinema expects to have most of the major new releases, and some will offer 9 p.m. premiere showings. Theaters used to offer midnight showings the night before movies are released to the general public, but he said that has been moved back to earlier 9 or 10 p.m. shows at most theaters following the shooting at "The Dark Knight Rises" premiere in Aurora, Colo., last year.
"That makes it nicer too, because you can have a lot more participation. People don't want to be out until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning," Shively said.
For more information about the Wal-Mart screening at Wheelersburg Cinema, or to view other selected theaters, please visit www.WalMart.com/ManofSteel. Wheelersburg Cinema can also be found online, at www.wheelersburgcinemas.com, or on Facebook.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTWriter.
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