Some might say that the closing of Newton’s Capitol II movie theater in early September has left few other entertainment options for youth and adults alike. But the Newton YMCA staff has cooked up a way to keep providing filmgoers with a local recreation activity.
Beginning later this month, the Y will partner with the Newton Community Theatre to show a variety of movies — from classics to kid-friendly flicks — on select weekends.
“With the closing of the theater downtown and the season at the (Valle) Drive-In wrapping up soon due to the weather, there’s just a lack of family entertainment in town. So we decided to try and fill that gap a little bit,” said Jessica Lowe, director of marketing and membership at the Y. “We’re not trying to become the new movie theater. We’re just trying to fill the gap until the movie theater situation is resolved or until the drive-in opens again for the next season.”
Each year, the Y pays for both motion picture and music licensing to legally offer those entertainment options within the facility. Those annual licenses are what will allow the Y to show movies to the public.
The movies will be played in the NCT on an 8-by-10-foot screen furnished by The Lighting Store, which also is renting out sound equipment and a projector. A few concessions, such as popcorn and water, will be sold for a minimal price “to allow people to have snacks while still maintaining the facility,” Lowe said. Admission is set at $2 per person.
“We ask that children under the age of 16 be accompanied by an adult, which will promote a family activity,” Lowe said. “We really are encouraging it to be a family event.”
Lowe hopes to hold several movie weekends throughout the fall and winter, beginning with a Halloween-themed weekend on Oct. 26 and 27. Because of the annual Jasper County Conservation Board’s Halloween Hike on Oct. 26, that first evening likely will be geared more toward adults. The movies to be shown still are being decided, but Lowe mentioned a possible showing of “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.”
“‘The Ghost and Mr. Chicken’ came out in the ‘60s starring Don Knotts. Adults might enjoy it more than a family with three kids in elementary school or something,” Lowe said. “The more kid-centered night will be Saturday. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I thought ‘Ghostbusters’ or ‘Casper’ or something that’s kind of Halloween, but not real scary.”
The weekend after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23-24, is scheduled as the next movie weekend.
“Friday night, the 23rd, is the Lighted Christmas Parade so we thought about doing a matinee on Friday so families can get out of the house with the kids,” Lowe said, noting that “A Christmas Story,” “Christmas Vacation” or another family-friendly holiday comedy are in the running for potential films. “Because we’re showing older movies, we’re not competing with other movie theaters in the area like Des Moines, Marshalltown or Grinnell.”
Depending on the community’s interest level during the initial showings at the NCT, Lowe hopes to have show movies more often, citing “The Wizard of Oz,” “Field of Dreams” and the more recent Harry Potter and Twilight series as more possibilities for community viewing.
“These are just movies that I feel like people watch at some point in their life, and most of us have only watched them on a TV screen, so it would be kind of fun to watch them on a big screen in a movie theater setting — kind of how they were originally meant to be seen,” Lowe said.
All proceeds taken in during the movie weekends will support programs at the Newton Y and the NCT. Those interested in providing sponsorship for the movie weekends may call Lowe at (641) 792-4006.
Amy Martens can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 426 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.