Ridgecrest Cinemas will be doing something for the nation’s active duty troops who are deployed — it will send one thank you note for every person that sees the upcoming movie “12 Strong,” a film based on the military operation following the-Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"This being a strong military town, we wanted to find a way to give back," said Ridgecrest Cinemas manager Kelly Walden. "Every person that comes in to watch the movie on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we will send a thank you note to a deployed servicemember."
Walden said that the theater will likely utilize a service to help distribute those notes.
Walden said the credit for the idea goes to different people and is part of the theater's approach to give back to the community.
"We decided to start 2018 with the goal in mind to figure out one time a month to give back to the community, so this was the first one," Walden said.
"12 Strong" stars Chris Hemsworth and focuses on the real-life events of a U.S. Special Forces team following the 9/11 attacks.
According to the movie synopsis, "In the wake of Sept. 11, Capt. Mitch Nelson (played by Hemsworth) leads a U.S. Special Forces team into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. Once there, the soldiers develop an uneasy partnership with the Northern Alliance to take down the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies. Outgunned and outnumbered, Nelson and his forces face overwhelming odds in a fight against a ruthless enemy that takes no prisoners."
The movie is based on Doug Stanton's non-fiction book "Horse Soldiers." Opening weekend starts this Friday and goes through Sunday.
"This military movie is supposed to be a really good movie, has got some really good reviews and as this is a military town, those films tend to do well," Walden said.
Walden said sending thank you notes to the soldiers and future ideas of giving back to the community has a purpose.
"We have been trying to find new ways to breathe new life into this place," Walden said. "We have a lot of people who have been helping me out with that in last few months."
One example would be trying new things like celebrating National Popcorn Day, which also falls on Friday.
"We are going to have some special popcorns from some of the local bakeries and businesses that we will sell that day," Walden said.
Special giveaways are also another possibility. Walden said Ridgecrest Cinemas just wrapped December with its Ultimate Gift Giveaway, where people entered a contest and one person received a year's worth of free movies.
"We are hopefully also going to be doing more special events," Walden said. One example was December's "Movie with a Cop," where Ridgecrest Cinemas partnered with Ridgecrest Police Department. Children who participated were provided with a free popcorn and drink.
Working with local schools is also another goal, Walden said.
"We show a lot of films that are educational movies that schools really like," Walden said. "We will keep our eyes out on what films are coming out and really try to work with the schools on a deal so they can come in and have field trips here."