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MAIN Movies showing free movies in field near Belpre Fire Departmnt

BELPRE – Free movie showings – including current and classic films – are being offered each weekend in Belpre through a new business called MAIN Movies.

Since June, JD and Leann Nicolais have been showing free movies on Saturday and Sunday outside on the field between the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department’s burn house and training center at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Stone Road in Belpre.

JD Nicolais said the movies are being shown every weekend through October, although he only has the schedule worked out through the end of August at this time. The movies range from rated G to PG13, with a few R-rated action films possible on separate days, he said.

In October, he hopes to do a movie showing and a haunted house program for children using the VFD’s burn house. If favorable weather is available, he would like to do holiday movie showings during that time of the year, he said.

“We’ve done the last three weeks,” he said, skipping the holiday weekend since many people make other plans at that time. “‘We do a couple hundred people a day. We’re shooting for 500 to 1,000, would be the goal. Our first night here we had about 700 people.”

Nicolais said admission to the movies is free, while concessions are sold at $1 per item, including drinks, popcorn, hot dogs and pizza, among other items. Coolers are allowed, although a $5 donation is requested to help cover the costs, but no alcohol is permitted, he said.

On movie nights, the gate will open at 7:30 p.m. and the movie will generally be shown between 9 and 10 p.m., whenever it gets dark, he said.

The concessions are where they make money to pay the copyright costs needed for permission to play the movies in a public setting. That copyright permission can range from $275 up to $1,500 depending on the movies.

In the event of rain, Nicolais said, that night’s showing will be canceled since he doesn’t have an indoor venue to which it can be relocated. However, he has up to a year under the copyright permission to show it, so the movie will usually be rescheduled.

A portion of the proceeds is always shared with the Belpre VFD which allows them to use its property for the showings. A portion is also being donated to an organization which helps people with loss or need or an individual who has lost someone, he said.

The couple had previously operated Adventure Quest, which provided inflatables for various activities, events and programs in the area. After losing one of their daughters last year, Nicolais said they decided to make some changes that would allow them to spend more time together as a family and sold their inflatables.

The movie program is named MAIN Movies and is named after the first initials of their three daughters’ names – Madison, Arabella (who passed away) and Isabelle – and the family’s last name, Nicolais.

The couple has done similar movie showings at City Park in Parkersburg which drew hundreds of people so they know there is local interest. The Belpre community has been supportive of the program in its first few weeks, he said.

“We just saw a need for cheap entertainment, for families to come out and literally spend $10 for a whole family to watch a movie,” he said.

Nicolais said they are looking at other things they can add to give people more things to do, from volleyball to cornhole games, at the movie showings. He said they are also interested in offering the program in other locations and cities, if people are interested.

With an inflatable screen and compact but powerful projector, “we’re very mobile,” he said.

Information and updates about the movies and other activities are available on Facebook at MAIN Movies, Nicolais said.

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