NORTH ADAMS -- What could be better during this time of year than watching a favorite holiday movie at home on the couch with family, close friends and loved ones? How about watching that favorite holiday movie on the big screen for free, without commercials or other interruptions, and with a tub of buttered popcorn?
The North Adams Movieplex 8, at 86 Main Street is doing just that -- showing free holiday movies every weekend in December until Christmas.
"We just do it to give something back to the community. It’s fun to see the kids watch the holiday movies and laugh along," Manager Scott Ingalls said Saturday morning. "We’ve been getting a good turnout. It’s been really good."
Over the weekend, the movie theater screened "Elf," starring Will Ferrell, on Saturday and "Christmas Vacation," with Chevy Chase, on Sunday.
"We wanted to go see a Christmas movie and she chose this one," Missy Robare, of North Adams, said after watching "Elf" with her daughter, Lindsey, 9, on Saturday afternoon. "We just wanted to spend the day together."
"My favorite part was when he kissed the girl," Lindsey said.
More than 60 people sat in Theater 7, laughing along to the antics of Will Ferrell who played Buddy the Elf. Even grown men could be seen shedding tears during the climax of the movie, when Buddy the Elf helps Santa Claus and saves Christmas.
The movieplex also uses the free movies to help save Christmas for the less fortunate in Berkshire County.
"We attach a food drive to all the free movies. It goes to the Berkshire Dream Center and they give it out to local families in need," Ingalls said.
The free movies and food drive have been a success, he said.
"We did do a food drive on Dec. 10 and we actually raised the biggest donation the Berkshire Dream Center has ever seen. We raised close to 1,000 cans and other non perishable food items," Ingalls said.
The movies do come with a fee, but local businesses have helped absorb the expense by sponsoring the holiday movie screenings. During "Elf," law firm Donovan and O’Conner, one of the event sponsors, gave out reusable bags as a thank you for donating food and coming to see the movie.
The theater also held a raffle during the event for free movie passes and items from other sponsors including classes at Zumba in the Berkshires and Miner Combat. Other sponsors include Messenger Digital Dentistry, WNAW, Mount Williams Greenhouses and the North Adams Transcript.
Getting holiday movies has not been easy and many films are not available, according to Ingalls.
"We do have to go to film companies for the right to play them. We can’t get Disney movies, like the "Santa Clause." I would love to get that but we can’t," Ingalls said.
Theater goers on Saturday did not seem to be disappointed by the selection.
"My wife wanted to see "Elf," and we brought the family along," Patrick Gray, of North Adams, said after watching the film with his wife and three children. "It was a great movie. It just gives you that feeling on the big screen. It was fun."
Two more free showings are scheduled. On Saturday, Dec. 21, the movieplex will show "Polar Express," followed by "Home Alone," on Sunday, Dec. 22.
Both films will start at 11 a.m.
For more information, visit www.northadamsmovieplex8.com.