PLYMOUTH, Mich. – More than 200 people rallied in Plymouth Thursday night at the historic Penn Theatre to save a holiday tradition.
The crowd was hoping to convince Paramount Pictures to allow the theater to hold a screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which the theater has been doing every holiday season for 15 years.
For many, the holiday season isn’t complete without seeing the Christmas classic on the big screen. Paramount granted exclusive licensing to the film and put a moratorium in place that prohibits the theater from playing it.
“If it was just a moratorium, that would be one thing, but they’ve given exceptions to several other theaters,” said Melanie Elliott.
The exemption was for theaters that played the movie every year.
“Only year we missed was 2020 because we closed because of COVID,” said Charlene Falardeau.
Elliott spent 16 years working at the theater, which is owned by her mother.
The theater has been showing the film since 2007 but skipped a year due to the pandemic in 2020.
“Lots of families and lots of kids just like me who enjoy the movie and enjoy its message,” said Atticus Daniels.
When Daniels, 16, heard he and his family might not be able to watch the movie at the theater this year, he joined countless others, hoping their love for the Christmas classic would warm hearts and change minds at Paramount.
“It seems unfortunate that they are not caring about the small communities as much as they are about these big, large theaters said Charlene Falardeau.
The Christmas classic is Falardeau’s favorite movie of all time.
“I have it on VHS, DVD, I have 40th and the 50th-anniversary edition, I have it all,” Falardeau said.
Nothing compares to seeing it on the big screen or the connection to the feeling it brings. The connection to the film was passed down to her son, who, in 2015, proposed to his wife under the marquee during the holiday showings.
“It would just be a huge loss if we couldn’t show it,” Elliott said.
Like in the movie, the people around town and neighboring towns came together to show Hollywood they couldn’t imagine a holiday season without it.
Paramount Pictures reached out to The Penn Theatre after the story aired Thursday night and said they will allow them to show the film.