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Movies at the Varsity provide alternative entertainment

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Thanks to Marquette Student Government, students don't need to travel off-campus or run to the video store to watch movies.

MUSG sponsors movie showings every Friday at 8 p.m. and every Saturday at 8 and 11 p.m. at the Varsity Theatre. Admission is $2 with a MarquetteCard and $3 without.

Upcoming movies include "War of the Worlds," "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and, this weekend, "Fantastic Four."

MUSG Films Commissioner Noelle Gilbreath, a College of Arts & Sciences senior, said she considers this year's program to be more successful than previous years.

In the past, MUSG tried to do a "throwback thing" and feature older popular movies, Gilbreath said, but it wasn't very effective.

"We found major motion pictures and more popular independent films bring the biggest crowd," she said.

The most popular showings this year were "Batman Returns" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," with a count of 700 people for all three showings of each movie, according to Gilbreath.

The MUSG films commission strives to pick movies that appeal to a broad range of people from "chick flicks" to action, according to Corey Lansing, the coordinator for campus programs in the Office of Student Development. He said the MUSG films commission tries to "hit it in the window" between when movies leave the theater and when they're available at video stores.

The current lineup was purchased in July from Swank Motion Pictures and Criterion companies, which sell Marquette the rights to show the movie for the weekend, according to Lansing. He said the cost varies from $1,000 for more recent films to between $250 and $500 for "old classics."

Lansing said the Alumni Memorial Union staff runs the movies at the Varsity, but because the films are MUSG-sponsored, a representative must be present in order for the movie to be shown.

Nick Breitzman, a College of Arts & Sciences junior, said he has never been to a movie at the Varsity. He said he "has better things to do" on the weekend, but would be more inclined to see movies if they were offered on weeknights.

Other students, like College of Arts & Sciences sophomore Alison Droster, take advantage of movie showings on campus.

"There's not a lot to do downtown on the weekends not involving alcohol, so I think it's a good program," she said.

Erin Sheehan, a College of Communication sophomore, works for the AMU Event Support Staff in charge of running the movies at the Varsity.

She said sometimes only 30 people or so show up to a given showing.

"I don't know how successful" the program is at making money, she said.

According to Lansing, the goal is "definitely not" to make money, and MUSG films commission is "lucky to break even." He said the money for the movies comes directly from the student activity fee.

For the 2005-'06 academic year, all undergraduate students pay a $27 student activity fee per semester.

Gilbreath said Marquette started providing the movies for something to do on the weekends.

More than that, Lansing said he hopes showing the movies provides a more lasting effect.

"The ultimate goal is to establish movies at the Varsity as a tradition," he said.

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