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Silver Screen Benevolence

By Karyn Brodsky

What are you doing with your family this weekend? Many will treat their children to a restaurant meal and a movie, but for some kids, both are out of reach.

Studio Movie Grill, a national chain of movie houses that also sells meals, is making it possible for kids who would otherwise not have this experience to enjoy a movie and meal at no cost. 

Based in Dallas, the company has 30 locations across the U.S. and is growing. Senior Director of Marketing, Brandon Jones, says part of Studio Movie Grill’s mission is to send children from various organizations to dine and watch a movie, made possible through SMG Access, its customer reward program. This loyalty program allows thousands of children from deserving organizations in each theater’s community to enjoy the experience. 

“We launched SMG Access nationwide at the end of June 2018, and by end of year, we gave back 10,000 movies and meals,” says Jones. 

The way it works is that moviegoers earn points each time they see a film or eat a meal. For every 1,000 points guests earn in the SMG Access rewards program, Studio Movie Grill donates a movie and a meal to a deserving non-profit organization that serves children.

“Boys and Girls Clubs have been one of our most frequent benefactors,” Jones notes. “Others include Hugs Café, Embrace Waiting Children, Promise House and Kidnet, Pathways Youth and Family Services, Together We Ball, Big Thought, City House, and My Friends House.”

SMG Access offers two levels of earning: one is free and the other, the Director Level costs $10 per year but allows moviegoers to earn points twice as fast. Once a guest accumulates 1,000 points, they earn a $10 gift card that can go toward a movie or meal.

“Our SMG Access loyalty program exists to open hearts and minds one story at a time and is consistent with our mission of community outreach,” explains Jones. “Our loyal guests can participate in that mission with us.”

Harrison Barnes of Dallas Mavericks has worked with Studio Movie Grill to make viewings for the deserving kids extra special. “He invites the kids, shows up at the screenings, and watches with them,” Jones says. “He just did that in December with Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse, where we brought in 1,500 kids to see a movie and enjoy the community of sharing a meal. He also did so with Black Panther, Uncle Drew and The Hate U Give.”

Since launching, movie studios have also collaborated with Studio Movie Grill. “When they produce a family-friendly film or a movie with a message, they ask Studio Movie Grill to make the Movies and Meals screening for the kids associated with the organizations,” adds Jones. “So far, participants have been Lionsgate, Sony, Paramount, Fox, and Universal Studios.”

Jones says that Studio Movie Grill Owner, Brian Schultz, who pioneered the dine-in movie concept, strongly believes in giving back in many ways to the communities they serve, by being a good neighbor and making the world a better place. The company tirelessly contributes to issues impacting their teams, their families, and friends. 

“We believe that movies can change lives and affect people in a deep way,” says Jones. “To be able to break bread together and see a movie is a life-changing event. Some people aren’t able to do so, so we give them that experience.”

Editor’s Note:  For more information on how to join SMG Access, visit studiomoviegrill.com.

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