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‘Pines’ a hit again at Scotia theater

Locally filmed movie welcomed home for 2nd run

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
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Movie goers wait in line at the Scotia Cinema to see The Place Beyond the Pines film Wednesday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Movie goers wait in line at the Scotia Cinema to see The Place Beyond the Pines film Wednesday.

— The crime drama “The Place Beyond the Pines,” filmed in and around Schenectady, appears to have staying power — at least in the Capital Region.

On Wednesday, more than a hundred people anxiously awaited the film’s re-release at the Scotia Cinema.

The film starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes was released to limited theaters nationwide in March and was released more widely in April. It played at a number of theaters in the Capital Region for several weeks.

The Scotia Cinema offers heavily discounted movie tickets a few months after a film’s original release.

Steve Levy of Glenville went to see the film with his wife. Levy said he was excited to see the local places in the film, especially M&S Cycle shop, which a friend owns.

“It will be interested to see things in the neighborhood in the movie,” he said.

Levy’s wife, Camille, agreed.

“That would be the other fun thing,” she said, “seeing places you know.”

Not only was the film shot in the area, many local people were cast

as extras. Richard DiCristofaro, a Schenectady barber, came to see the film at Scotia Cinema on Wednesday with friends.

“My daughter was supposed to be in the movie, but it got cut,” he said. “She is one of the extras.”

The ties to the local area in “The Place Beyond the Pines” are endless, according to Don Rittner, a Schenectady historian and one of the heads of the New York-Capital District Film Community.

“It is basically a combination of real-life events that have happened throughout the history of the area,” Rittner said. “There definitely was a local connection.”

A writer for the film, Ben Coccio, is a Schenectady County native, according to Rittner, and Shannon Plumb, wife of director Derek Cianfrance, grew up in Schenectady. The Mohawk word Schenectady translates to “over the pine plains,” similar to the actual film title.

“The city really embraced the production,” Rittner said.

Rittner, who was involved in getting “The Place Beyond the Pines” filmed in the Capital Region, said the filming pumped an estimated $2 million into the local economy.

“The economic impact was great, and just the excitement [of] having a bunch of movie stars in the city created a buzz,” Rittner said. “The movie did very well. They made more money than it cost to produce it.”

According to Rittner, “The Pines” is estimated to have taken in around $25 million in the box office. It cost about $15 million to produce, he said.

The film premiered locally at the Bow Tie Cinema on State Street in April. Cianfrance and Cooper made appearances at the premiere.

“I think the local influence was huge. A lot of people wanted to see it,” Joe Masher, chief operating officer for Bow Tie Cinemas, said. “They wanted to see it in Schenectady, where it was filmed.”

Bow Tie Cinema felt the economic impact, too.

“We did very, very well,” Masher said. “We were one of the top grossing theaters in the nation for it.”

“The Place Beyond the Pines” has been playing at Spectrum 8 Theatre on Delaware Avenue in Albany and will end its run there today. It’s been there for the last three months.

“It was a really popular movie here at the Spectrum,” said Keith Pickard, one of the theater’s owners. “It is filmed locally so there is a strong local interest in seeing the film.”

Pickard said it was one of their “bigger springtime films. It did very well, extremely well.”

Rittner said he hopes to see more movies filmed locally. Places like Schenectady, which was settled nearly 400 years ago, can be the perfect set for almost any movie, according to Rittner.

“We have backdrops for almost any movie you want to make,” he said. “I think what ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ proved — which we have been trying to say — is that the Capital Region is a great place to make movies.”

 
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