Coming soon to Webster City

The first films to be shown at the Webster Theater have been tentatively set.

The Help Entertain and Restore Organization recently announced that the first film scheduled to be shown at the theater is “Guardians of the Galaxy,” rated PG-13. The theater is looking to show the movie in 3-D for the Red Carpet Affair on Sept. 19 and on Sept. 20 when the theater opens to the public. The film will be shown in 2-D on Sept. 21.

Other movies planned to be shown at the theater include “When The Game Stands Tall,” rated PG, starting Sept. 26, “Dolphin Tale 2,” rated PG, beginning Oct. 3, and “The Maze Runner,” rated PG-13, starting Oct. 10.

General Manager Keri Rojas said that the schedule is tentative due to how the Webster Theater receives movies. The Webster Theater has to have contracts with individual movie studios or distributors to show movies. Throughout that process, Rojas said the Webster Theater is at a disadvantage due to its size.

“Those big distributors and studios, they don’t want to work with local, independent movie houses. They don’t want to sell their big blockbusters to one theater,” Rojas said. “So, when you’re a theater our size, the best that you can do is work through a broker.”

The Webster Theater is doing just that. Rojas said she works with a broker who owns several screens and also represents several other small theaters. By putting together a sizable group of theaters, Rojas said studios and distributors are willing to talk to him. Still, it means that the Webster Theater will generally show movies on a three-week delay. Additionally, those movies are generally chosen by the broker.

“The short version is, we don’t have a lot of say in which movies we’re getting,” Rojas said. “If there’s interest, we can ask for one, but he’s not buying a movie just for us. He’s buying one movie for multiple screens just like the big guys.”

Rojas said that process leads to interesting deals. For instance, if a studio or distributor has a large, blockbuster film coming up that many people want to see, they might only agree to bring it to small theaters if they also agree to show a movie with less public interest. Rojas said it’s a reality the theater will have to deal with, as distributors and studios can’t directly deal with each small movie theater.

“Why give me three or four hours a week of your time when you can give five other people three or four hours and get a movie on thousands of screens?” Rojas said.

There are also complications with showing older movies at the theater. Rojas said people have asked her and other members of HERO to show films like “Field of Dreams.” However, she said the rights to such movies can be difficult or impossible to acquire. It would also be illegal for the theater to show a movie off of a Blu-Ray or DVD, Rojas said.

As the theater movies forward after opening night, Rojas said she will be sent a tentative schedule for upcoming movies between four to six weeks before they are shown at the Webster Theater. Final confirmation of a movie is sent the Monday before a particular movie opens on the following Friday. Rojas said the theater will post their schedule as early as possible, but wants the public to know that movies are subject to change until the week of the showing.

Prices and times

HERO has also announced ticket and concession prices. The cost for 2-D movies will be $4 for adults and $3 for children. The cost for 3-D movies will be $6 for adults and $5 for children.

“Even the cheapest 2-D matinee in Fort Dodge is $6.50,” Rojas said. “So, we think that’s a pretty good set of prices.”

Prices for both beverages and popcorn in small, medium and large sizes will be $2, $3 and $4 respectively. Candy will be priced between $2 and $3. A “Kiddie Combo” of a 12 oz. drink, a small order of candy and popcorn will cost $4.

“We’re trying to have family friendly pricing,” Rojas said. “We really want to be part of the community and as we continue to make money we’ll continue to improve the theater.”

Rojas said the theater will be open every day except for Monday. One show will be held each night the theater is open, likely at 7 p.m. In addition to the evening show, the theater will also host a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Rojas said those who rent out the theater will likely have a 9 p.m. time-slot. More details about renting out the theater will be made available at a later date.