University Union Cinemas
is primarily responsible for the weekly movie screenings held on South Campus and Main Campus, in Goldstein Student Center and Gifford auditorium, respectively. The films screened tend to be major blockbusters that have recently been released, but the films have yet to be released to DVD/Blu-ray.
When the Cinemas division of University Union first began, the films ran from Wednesday night to Sunday night, with screenings being held in Watson Theater, as opposed to Gifford Auditorium. Before the influx in licensing prices, the organization hosted multiple screenings on multiple nights, for a moderate fee to subsidize the costs. Midnight screenings of films would be held as an additional event, while blockbuster films would be shown at earlier times. These blockbuster screenings had an admission price of two dollars.
In the recent past, Cinemas has evolved and eliminated midnight viewings, instead opting for weekly screenings of one film. Every Thursday and Sunday night, a film can be viewed on South Campus thanks to partnership between University Union Cinemas and S.C.O.P.E. On Friday and Saturday night, the same film can be viewed on Main Campus in Huntington Beard Crouse’s Gifford Auditorium. All screenings begin at 8 pm. At the end of each spring semester, the board closes University Union’s year with a film screening on the quad. This event is free and open to all members of the Syracuse community.
Each year, Cinemas is asked to host advanced film screenings for major production companies. Studios such as Fox, NBC Universal, and Sony Pictures have brought films to campus through the use of their student representatives. Movies such as The Evil Dead, American Gangster, and Get Him to the Greek have all been brought to campus through these partnerships.
In 2012, University Union Cinemas attempted to expand their reach by introducing a full-fledged student film festival. The film festival, aptly titled SyRECuse Student Film Festival, was created in order to give back to the students for all of their support to University Union. The first place prize included two tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival. As the event was in its beginning stages, there were a few problems and missteps in the planning and execution of the event, but the goal was not lost on the student body.
As the organization continues to expand, University Union Cinemas has continued searching for ways to engage and excite the student body, as it is a weekly presence. The board incorporates new and exciting ways to promote events, attract students, and provide a fun alternative to partying, especially in the cold weather months.