Local residents have recently expressed unhappiness about “Saving Mr. Banks” being taken out of the Regal Aiken Mall 8 movie theater.
The theater was slated to begin showing the movie – based on Walt Disney's development of the “Mary Poppins” movie – on Dec. 13, but recently pulled it from rotation. After receiving a letter from local resident Sue Ellis, the Aiken Standard contacted Regal Cinemas.
Russ Nunley, vice president of marketing and communications for Regal, said the movie was pulled due to the popularity of other movies.
“In this case, our film buyers determined that some of this season's hits are still so popular we couldn't take them off the screen yet, and we were not able to make room for 'Saving Mr. Banks,'” Nunley wrote in an email.
Nunley added that film buyers make a decision each week on which movies they believe will be the most popular to play at each of Regal's eight-screen theaters. With so many different tastes in genres, Nunley said the decisions are always hard to make.
“It's always a tight fit to program all of the films that our patrons may want to see,” he said.
The closest Regal location showing “Saving Mr. Banks” is the Regal Cinemas Augusta Exchange Stadium 20 IMAX Movie Theater located at 1144 Agerton Lane in Augusta. Even though the film isn't being offered in Aiken right now, Nunley said there's a possibility it could be offered in the future.
“Our film buyers will continue to track interest and popularity of movies around the country,” he explained. “If that film gains some more notoriety, perhaps with award nominations or such, it could be booked in the future.”
While Augusta is seemingly a short drive away, Ellis said the commute across the river is more costly than it seems.
“It's not a simple fact of just going to Augusta when you have grandchildren. We have to get kids there and we have to make plans to get a baby sitter for the others, so it's nearly a five-hour process,” Ellis said.
She added that having to go to Augusta to see movies has been a recurring thing for Aiken residents.
“This is about the fourth or fifth time this theater has told me to go to Augusta,” Ellis said. “There's also the fact that I want to keep my money here and not take it to Augusta. It's not convenient to go to Augusta. We like to see good, quality movies here in town.”
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.