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Marquette Student Government spends more than five figures on Varsity movies, movie excursions

Swank+Motion+Pictures%2C+a+non-theatrical+movie+distributor%2C+brings+films+to+Varsity+Theatre.+Photo+by+Isioma+Okoro-Osademe%2Fisioma.okoro-osademe%40marquette.edu
Swank Motion Pictures, a non-theatrical movie distributor, brings films to Varsity Theatre. Photo by Isioma Okoro-Osademe/isioma.okoro-osademe@marquette.edu

Swank Motion Pictures, a non-theatrical movie distributor, brings films to Varsity Theatre. Photo by Isioma Okoro-Osademe/isioma.okoro-osademe@marquette.edu

Swank Motion Pictures, a non-theatrical movie distributor, brings films to Varsity Theatre. Photo by Isioma Okoro-Osademe/isioma.okoro-osademe@marquette.edu

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Marquette Student Government has spent $29,700 on films so far this academic year for free Varsity Theatre movies and off-campus movie excursions, according to the Program Board Expenses released this week.

MUSG began incorporating movie viewings into its budget since 2007. While last year marked the first year films were free to students, it was previously unknown how MUSG selected movies to play every weekend and for how much.

Costs vary for movies. Newer and popular films cost upwards of $1,500 while other films usually fall between $500 and $1,000. MUSG paid $1,426 to show “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” April 29 and 30.

Decisions for movie related events come from the MUSG program board.

“The program board sits down and picks out potential movies to show on weekends,” said Sarah Graupman, an MUSG program coordinator and a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, in an email. “We try to pick movies that students will enjoy by picking a variety of movies. We try to pick some new releases and some older movies to reach a larger group of students and because of budget reasons.”

The movie queue for Varsity Theatre is typically planned out at the ned of each semester through a movie distribution company called Swank Motion Pictures.

Swank Motion Pictures, a non-theatrical distributor of motion pictures, licenses out movies for different types of viewings, including college campuses.

“They give us a tentative date of when movies will be available for early release which is a lot cheaper than they will be for first release, which is after the movie is in theaters but before it comes out on DVD,” said Sarah Beattie, a senior in the College of Communication and MUSG programs vice president.

Movie selection is also dependent upon availability and may be influenced by ongoing campus events.

“We receive a catalog of movies we are allowed to play before their official DVD release date, and so whichever are new-ish, available and popular, like ‘Creed’ for example, are chosen for students who were unable to venture off-campus to see them in theaters,” said Molly Welch, an MUSG program coordinator and sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Though most decisions come from the program board, it does take suggestions from students and groups on campus.

“Sometimes we are also approached by student organizations about films they would like to see shown at the Varsity,” Graupman said. “For example, we showed ‘Forrest Gump’ this past week on the suggestion of Active Minds for Mental Health Awareness week. We also try to show kid-friendly movies when events like Lil’ Sibs weekend are happening.”

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