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'The Butler' to show at State Theater

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Movie booked for five showings from Nov. 28-30

By Jeff D'Alessio

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is coming to the Historic State Theater for a three-day run in late November.

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The movie has brought in about $110 million since its Aug. 16 debut and wasn’t shown at the Movie Palace in Elizabethtown after its release.

Movie theater owner Ike Boutwell has a long-running issue with Jane Fonda and her now infamous anti-Vietnam War statements and demonstrations. Boutwell is a U.S. Marines Corps veteran of the Korean War and trained pilots during the Vietnam War and opts not to locally show any movies Fonda appears in.

Emily West, director of the Historic State Theater, said the idea of pursuing the movie was triggered by Boutwell’s refusal to show the film.

“I respect his rights,” West said of Boutwell. “He does have a personal stake in it with Jane Fonda. I just want to give people a choice — this is the United States of America. A lot of people have died for us to be able to chose what we want.”

Fonda plays former first lady Nancy Reagan in the film.

West said she was disappointed the movie wasn’t shown locally following its release. She said when she saw previews of the movie — the story of Cecil Gaines, who served eight U.S. presidents as a butler in the White House — she believed it would be a great film.

“I love films based on a real story,” she said.

West contacted The Weinstein Company of New York City shortly after Boutwell’s stance went public to discuss bringing the film to the area. She said it took several weeks to gain final approval but she was notified Monday the movie could be shown at the State Theater.

Because the facility doesn’t have reel-to-reel capabilities, she said she had to wait until the film was released on DVD to show it.

“It is definitely the newest movie we have ever shown,” she said.

The Weinstein Company will receive 35 percent of ticket sales from the showings. West said a decision was made to increase the ticket price from $3 to $5 each.

The movie will have five showtimes over the three days, debuting at 7 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

“We’re hoping for a great crowd,” she said.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at www.historicstatetheater.org

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.