Wealthy Theatre brings back spooky screenings


Courtesy / Wealthy Theatre Facebook

Allison Rafferty, Staff Writer

For many, the month of October coming to an end means that Halloween is right around the corner. For the people of Grand Rapids, it also means that it’s time for the annual Halloween movie screenings at Wealthy Theatre. 

Since 2008, Wealthy Theatre in downtown Grand Rapids has screened a cult classic film on the big screen every Tuesday night. When October rolls around, the movie lineup becomes programmed with the spooky holiday in mind. 

When the pandemic hit, the theatre’s seats remained empty for over a year. As the theatre finally re-opened, Theatre Director Chris Kotcher said employees came up with fun ways to bring the community back together. 

We wanted to find ways to celebrate what is special about the movie theater experience,” Kotcher said. “Especially with it being easier than ever to have a great movie watching experience at home, we wanted to show some films that bring people together and offer something you don’t get in your living room. Hopefully to remind folks why it’s worth leaving your house to come watch a film alongside the energy of an audience. Halloween and horror movies are great for this kind of thing.”

This year’s film lineup includes: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Army of Darkness,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” and “The Exorcist.” 

While theatre staff is excited to screen all of these films, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening, in particular, will be a unique experience for those in attendance. 

During the screening, costumes and cosplay are encouraged. There will also be a special shadow cast performance of live actors doing a parallel performance alongside the film, presented in partnership with Betka-Pope Productions.

“With crowd interactions, prop bags, callbacks, costumes, and shadow cast performers, there is no greater immersive movie theater experience. So our Wealthy Theatre team couldn’t say no to bringing it back for Halloween week,” Kotcher said. 

He said Wealthy Theatre has previously partnered with Betka-Pope Productions in the past, and it went so well that they wanted to collaborate again for the annual Halloween screenings. 

Kotcher said that he is most looking forward to hearing the reactions from audiences who have never seen the films before, or have never experienced them in a movie theatre. 

“There’s a great energy with the crowds who are coming out this year,” Kotcher said. “I think people are more grateful, present, and excited to have some of these experiences return. I think the performers feel the same way.”

Wealthy Theatre is also part of a non-profit called the Grand Rapids Community Media Center. Their mission is “Building Community Through Media.” Kotcher said that there is no better movie to better represent that mission than “Rocky Horror.” 

“When you leave your house to see a movie with a crowd of strangers, in the right circumstances, with the right movie, there’s a community that’s created in that room,” Kotcher said. “The community that ‘Rocky Horror’ inspires is especially unique and constantly evolving with new generations seeing it for the first time alongside fans that have loved it for decades.”

There are two screenings left in this year’s lineup. “The Exorcist” is showing on Tues., Oct. 26 and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is playing on Fri., Oct. 29. Tickets can be purchased through Wealthy Theatre’s website. 

For the safety of everyone in attendance and all employees, Wealthy Theatre is requiring all patrons to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status.