How ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ landed at a Middletown movie theater before its Netflix premiere

Director Ron Howard and his crew continued filming of the movie version of “Hillbilly Elegy” on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Middletown. A special screening is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 at the Cinema 10 Middletown theater. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Director Ron Howard and his crew continued filming of the movie version of “Hillbilly Elegy” on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Middletown. A special screening is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 at the Cinema 10 Middletown theater. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Middletown will have a special screening of “Hillbilly Elegy” ahead of its Nov. 24 Netflix premiere.

Cinema 10 Middletown will host a premiere screening of the film at 7 p.m. Tuesday with all available seats at a discounted price of $5.

The theater at 3479 Dixie Highway is requesting a donation of two cans of any food to receive a complimentary 85-ounce popcorn. All food collected will be donated to Hope Shelter for Women and Children in Middletown.

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“Hillbilly Elegy” is the movie adaptation of J.D. Vance’s book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis.” The film was directed by Ron Howard and stars Amy Adams and Glenn Close. It was partially filmed in Middletown and featured some area actors and extras.

“We are excited to be able to premiere the Ron Howard directed movie ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ in Middletown where many of the location scenes were filmed,” said Mitchell Bryson, Republic Theatre Group director of operations. “The Premiere at Cinema 10 lets us bring native son J.D. Vance’s best-selling book and now Hollywood movie back home to Middletown, the setting for the story.”

Bryson said a food drive connects with the movie’s theme of a family struggling with addiction and other issues that caused it to need help.

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Cinema 10 Middletown will begin showing the film on a regular schedule, at regular ticket prices, on Wednesday.

“We chased down Netflix to get a special screening,” Bryson said. “We wanted to have a Saturday screening, but they only allowed a Tuesday screening.”

Bryson said Netflix also gave permission to allow the discounted price of $5 to stay aligned with the theater’s “Super Tuesday” pricing.

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When Netflix feels a film has Oscar-winning potential, the streaming service will often release the film to select local or independent theaters ahead of the Netflix release, said Jonathan McNeal, manager of The Neon in Dayton and film expert. Last month, The Neon announced plans for its own premiere of the film on Wednesday.

Bryson doesn’t know how many people will attend the special screening. However, some local officials are excited about the special screening.

  • “We’re thrilled that “Hillbilly Elegy” will be showcased in its Middletown hometown before national release,” said Mary Huttlinger, Middletown Visitors Bureau executive director.
  • “This is great for us to get that exposure,” said Middletown Councilwoman Ami Vitori. “How often do you get to screen a movie about your town in your town?”
  • “Middletown 's story, like that of its favorite son, J.D. Vance, is one of struggle, hard work, renewal and triumph,” said Middletown City Manager Jim Palenick.