The arthouse cinema and specialty distributor are offering a complimentary second ticket to anyone who buys a first directly from the Angelika’s website, app or in the theater to see the film during its first week of release. It’s a nod to the fact that older arthouse demos have been the slowest to return to theaters, wary of Covid but also just having gotten out of the habit.
The Duke by the late Roger Michell stars Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. It premiered at Venice and Telluride last year. SPC is opening the film in NY and LA, expanding to additional cities thereafter.
“The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on theaters and the moviegoing experience,” said Tom Bernard, Sony Pictures Classics’ co-president. But with vaccinations, boosters and health and safety protocols at theaters, he said, “going to the movies is as safe or safer than going to a bar or a crowded restaurant.”
“We know that people are finally ready to get back into their seats,” he added, “and The Duke is the ideal film” to remind them.
“Being able to bring a friend for free to the Angelika to see The Duke…is the perfect way to celebrate the magical experience of watching films in a theater with an audience,” said Angelika CEO Ellen Cotter of Michell’s final feature film before his death in 2021. It’s the true story of 60-year-old taxi driver (Broadbent), who stole Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s portrait of The Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London — the only painting ever nicked from museum in its 196-year history. It’s certified fresh with critics on Rotten Tomatoes at 95%.
The Angelika, with theaters in NYC, Texas, Washington, D.C, California and Virginia, separately announced a new free membership program launching a week later on April 29. It will offer points on tickets and concessions, free monthly screenings free birthday popcorn, select free streaming on its curated platform, Angelika Anywhere, half-off tickets on Tuesdays, and discounts on online food and drink orders and merchandise.