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Missoula moviegoers brave 12-hour Groundhog Day challenge - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

UPDATE

Missoula moviegoers brave 12-hour Groundhog Day challenge

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UPDATE: The Roxy Theater is saying that at the end of the six viewings of Groundhog Day on Friday, 44 attendees made it to the very end, winning them all year-long memberships to the Roxy. 

"FORTY-FOUR. 44. That is forty and four brand new Cosmic Roxy members," The Roxy posted on Instagram. "Y’all are animals. Congratulations and watch that first step . . . It’s a doozy!


MISSOULA - Remember the movie Groundhog Day, where the man character is a weatherman who has to live that same day over and over again?

The same thing happened Friday at the Roxy theater in Missoula. The same movie, over and over again. And that movie? Groundhog Day.

And as Jill Valley found out, dozens of people were willing to spend the next 12 hours of their life watching that movie...over and over again. 

"The whole groundhog day experience is what I'm going for," said Ben Crawford.

He's in the right place. For the first time in four years, the Roxy Theater is hosting a Groundhog Day movie marathon. And whoever sits through the movie six times in a row, that’s 12 hours in all, wins a year’s membership to the Roxy.

“This morning, I think about 55 of them were trying to go for it," said Roxy Executive Director Mike Steinberg. "There’s less than 50 in there now that are still part of the competition”

It started at 11 a.m. Friday and ends at 11 p.m.

It’s a serious competition with rules:

  • No sleeping
  • No using your phone.
  • You have to be in your seat from the opening to the end credits.

While the crowd is in the theater watching the movie, theater staff are busy at the concession stand. Moviegoers have 18 minutes between shows to get a drink, a snack and go to the bathroom before they have to be back in their seats.

“The funny thing is I asked if it’s the first time anyone has seen this film and a number of them raised their hands," Steinberg said. "So you know, this film is about repetition and if you’re not aware of what your’e getting into, it might be over your head”

And we met this kid, Jonah O’Connor who is skipping school for this. But guess who gave him permission to do that? Ned Ryerson.

That’s right, actor Stephen Tobolowsky sent Johah a tweet explaining to his teachers this movie is worth a skip day

Johna likes the part when it all starts to fall into place.

“I like it when he realizes that he’s stuck and still trying to figure out what’s going on.”

It’s a scene that is on repeat until late Friday night, and no matter who makes it through, this event is clearly very Missoula, offered by a theater that’s all about the pictures.

“Half of what we do at the Roxy is to promote movie-going. It’s that social contract you make with your community to participate in the film  and film viewing and that’s what we’re all about."

The last time the Roxy had a competition like this, only four made it, and as of Friday afternoon these moviegoers still have more than five hours to go.

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