Gallagher Theater offers cheap, solid entertainment

By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The reborn Gallagher Theater is looking towards a strong new year full of sneak previews, film festivals, documentaries and just-out-of-cineplex films.

The movie theater, located on the main level of the Student Union Memorial Center, 1303 E. University Blvd., will be showing a lot of sneak previews in the beginning of the year and is tentatively planning to show University Activities Board-sponsored films to supplement the weeks that it does not show regularly scheduled films.

The theater originally opened in 1971, and movies cost only $0.75 for UA students at the time. The original space included a lobby area, and its entrance faced the UA Mall. The theater was demolished during the restructuring of the SUMC and a new one was built inside the new building.

Since the theater reopened in January 2003, its screening list has consisted primarily of second-run films such as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "Kill Bill: Volume 1," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Butterfly Effect." Older films included "Pulp Fiction," "Moulin Rouge," "Harold and Maude" and "A Clockwork Orange."

The theatre has also hosted 12 sneak previews such as "School of Rock," "Mean Girls" and this summer's "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle."

Next year, the theater will be focusing on sneaks in the beginning of next year and hopes to show "I, Robot" at the end of August.

Gallagher's movie schedule is still in progress, but it will hopefully also feature "Troy" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" in the near future, according to T.J. Willis, Gallagher manager.

The theater's operators hope to be able to produce quality films for students and the community and bring in as many sneak previews as possible.

"We are trying to do quite a lot of new things this semester, but keep the same things that people liked last year," Willis said. "We are hoping to have something every week - that's the goal."

Tamara DeStefanis, director of PSU and SUMC recreation, said that the theater has had a good turnout for screenings in the past and over the summer, so its managers hope to bring more in.

"We fully anticipate we will have a really strong sneak preview schedule this semester," she said.

Students and Tucsonans attend the theater, and at three bucks a pop, it's a good way to catch stuff you may have missed in theaters the first time around.

"I come to the Gallagher because it's cheap and there are good movies. I hope they have at least one every week; maybe they'll get more once the budget goes in," said Joy Florence, a full-time student union employee.

There will also be film festivals, both local and national, Mike Judge animated films and various documentaries.

The theater will be showing "Revenge of the Nerds," which was filmed at the UA, on Aug.18 at 7 p.m. for free.

For more information about the Gallagher Theater and its movie schedule, check out its Web site at