Students at Cal State Fullerton have the unique opportunity of watching the latest blockbuster movies before they are available on DVD.
On certain Thursdays of every month, students are able to view some of the most popular movies of the year for free at the Titan Student Union (TSU) Titan Theatre as part of Associated Students, Inc. Productions’ (ASI Productions) Thursday Night Film Series.
Andrew Jacobsen, a psychology major, viewed the screening of “Captain America: Civil War” last Thursday.
“I watched this movie in theaters a couple months back with my friends, but I think it’s cool that I can watch it again at my school,” Jacobsen said.
ASI Productions is an organization comprised of students who aim to provide free and quality entertainment to all members of the CSUF community. Phillip Law, a business administration major, joined ASI Productions’ street team to fully immerse himself into the CSUF student experience.
“It’s important for me to get involved in order to understand what being a Titan is like,” Law said.
As far as records go, the film screening venture of ASI Productions has been in development for over a decade and has been playing at the Titan Theater ever since. All the movies screened are usually the top movies played during that summer.
Bringing the latest movies before their DVD release dates can all be credited to Sergio Oyarzabal, the ASI Productions films coordinator. On top of double majoring in health science and film, he is primarily responsible for the films that play at CSUF.
In order to legally screen the movies at CSUF, Oyarzabal said that he needed to secure the licenses to the movies first before they can be played at the Titan Theatre. To avoid any legal trouble, he obtains the rights to screen these movies from Swank Films Productions.
“They’re very strict about it,” Oyarzabal said. “They send us the DVD and we have to put in a code and not share that code (in order) to be able to play the movie.”
Generally, if a movie doesn’t do well in the box office, Swank Film Productions would not want to pay for that license. Last year, there was an occurrence where a film already printed on the Thursday Night Film Series schedule could not be screened because Swank Film Productions did not pay for the license.
“This was really rare. I’ve never seen that happen – only that one time, but it was really easy to find another film,” Oyarzabal said.
Starting this year, Oyarzabal is putting up posters for upcoming films in the lobby area outside of the Titan Theatre during the time that they are screened, akin to what theater patrons would normally see while walking in the lobby of a regular movie theater. On the days which the films show in the theater, there are posters advertising future screenings such as “The Secret Life of Pets” or “Finding Dory.” Oyarzabal feels as though this brings an element of a genuine film-going experience to students.
“My position is to provide that magical movie experience,” Oyarzabal said. “I want to replicate it.”
A lot of people who go to actual movie theaters like to keep their movie ticket as collectibles, Oyarzabal said.
To replicate the cinema experience even further, he and the ASI Productions’ marketing team created exclusive movie tickets for students to not only have as keepsakes, but to provide them a chance to win prizes in a drawing at the end of each screening.
Perhaps the best part of the Thursday Night Film Series is that students are able to watch these films for free because the screenings are already paid for by their student fees.
Members of ASI Productions make sure that student fees aren’t being wasted when it comes to these movies, Oyarzabal said. A portion of student fees goes into ASI Productions and with that money, the organization is dedicated to enhancing students’ lives at CSUF.
“I didn’t know our school can do cool stuff like this, so I don’t have to really wait for it to come on DVD anymore,” Jacobsen said. “It’s kind of like going to the movies but better because it’s free.”
The three general showtimes for the film series are 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. The 4 p.m. showing usually has the lowest amount of viewers because students are still in their classes, but it tends to get busier at the 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. showtimes, Oyarzabal said.
With all three showings combined, the attendance ranges from 200 to 250 students, Oyarzabal said. However, it also really depends on what movie is being screened.
“For blockbuster hits like, let’s say, ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ when I was not films coordinator, I remember coming in and all the seats were taken.” Oyarzabal said.
One of Oyarzabal’s favorite things to do in life is to go to a movie theater because it’s a magical place to him. Since college students’ lives can be stressful, Oyarzabal enjoys spreading this kind of magic into their lives through movies to relieve that pressure.
With complimentary snacks and drinks and a customized movie ticket as a memento, there’s no reason not to go the Titan Theatre for a great movie experience.
“What I’m providing is an opportunity to escape for two hours and join an adventure with Captain America and get lost in the seas of Finding Dory,” Oyarzabal said.