The Dipson Eastern Hills Mall Cinema will begin showing Christian faith-based movies three times a week in a Church Family Movie Night program.
Mountain Top Entertainment, the theatrical affiliate for Bridgestone Multimedia group, and Christie Digital Systems created the unusual program, which provides a continuing series of inspirational, faith-based, family-friendly movies.
“We are very enthusiastic regarding this partnership,” said Michael Clement, president of the locally owned Dipson Theatres.
In the past, the theater has shown individual faith-themed films that Clement said have been well-received. “This is something we’ve had success with in the past, and putting together a program with an ongoing calendar is something that was very intriguing to us,” he said.
Clement said that Dipson theaters “experiment with alternative content all the time,” including one-night opera presentations and other special events.
Two documentaries will be booked for single nights in November at Eastern Hills — “Fire in the Blood,” about the pharmaceutical industry, on Nov. 7, and “When Comedy went to School,” about the golden age of comedy, on Nov. 14.
Clement said, “We certainly will add screens and show times as we expand and grow into this.”
The series begins with a two-week booking of “The Lost Medallion,” a 2013 film about a medallion that convinces a group of foster children of their value to God.
The movies will be shown at 1 p.m. Sundays, 7 p.m. Tuesdays and 5 p.m. Thursdays. Tickets are $7.50 for all patrons on Sundays and Thursdays; tickets on Tuesdays are $9.50 for adults and $7.50 for children 12 and under.
Each film will run for two weeks.
After “The Lost Medallion,” “Heaven is Waiting,” a 2011 film about a widower who opens his heart to love again, will run from Nov. 8 to Nov. 21. “Hiding in Plain Sight,” a 2013 film about a miracle that saves a poor family, will be shown from Nov. 22 until Dec. 5, followed by “Christmas Oranges,” a 2012 film about a woebegone orphan who looks forward to a Christmas orange, from Dec. 6 to Dec. 12.
According to Mountain Top Entertainment’s website, films in the series will include “past favorites and also new releases that are focused on faith based and inspirational themes.” The program “is designed to be an ongoing model, whereby families can know there will always be a faith and family-friendly movie playing at their local participating theater.”
The Church Family Movie Night website lists 20 theaters in 10 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, where its films are showing.
The Dipson Eastern Hills Mall Cinema and the Dipson Lakewood Cinema 8 in Chautauqua County are the only theaters in New York showing the films; the Warren, Pa., Mall Cinema, also a Dipson theater, is the only Church Family Movie Night location in Pennsylvania.
If the shows draw patrons, “we hope to expand it to other theaters in the Western New York area,” said Clement. Dipson owns and operates 10 theaters in Western New York, northwestern Pennsylvania and in Farmington Hills, Mich.
Clement said Dipson’s marketing staff is reaching out to local churches to inform them of the shows.
But one congregation already familiar with the Eastern Hills venue is Epic Church, part of the Free Methodist family of churches, which holds services at the theater at 9:30 and 11 a.m. every Sunday. “They use all three auditoriums,” Clement said.