We rolled out the red carpet at the Regal Pinnacle ScreenX, 4DX, IMAX & RPX in Knoxville, TN on October 22nd to host an exclusive benefit screening of Lionsgate’s Midway, accompanied by a special appearance from its star Dennis Quaid. The annual charity screening in Knoxville benefits Variety–The Children’s Charity, a philanthropic organization committed to a mission of assisting at-risk, physically challenged, abused, and neglected children. The Variety of Eastern Tennessee chapter has raised more than $10.5 million since its founding in 2001.
Midway tells the true story of the Battle of Midway, often regarded as “the turning point of the Pacific” during World War II. On June 4, 1942, six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the outnumbered United States Navy under Admirals Chester W. Nimitz, Frank Jack Fletcher, and Raymond A. Spruance met Japan’s more experienced Imperial Navy under admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chūichi Nagumo, and Nobutake Kondō at the North Pacific atoll known as Midway. What followed was a decisive United States victory and the first major Allied victory against the Japanese. Lionsgate’s retelling of the famous battle focuses on the experiences of the WWII leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude, and bravery to overcome the odds and secure victory.
Dennis Quaid stars as Vice Admiral William “Bull” Halsey alongside a star-studded cast that incudes Woody Harrelson, Ed Skrein, Luke Evans, Patrick Wilson, Mandy Moore, Aaron Eckhart, and Nick Jonas. Quaid has enjoyed a long, successful career starring in movies like The Right Stuff (1983), Everybody’s All-American (1988), The Parent Trap (1998), Any Given Sunday (1999), The Rookie (2002), and The Alamo (2004), among many others.
William "Bull" Halsey (Dennis Quaid) in Midway (2019)
The generations that have followed since WWII continue to be fascinated by the sacrifices and acts of valor of those who served in the greatest conflict the world has ever seen. “My generation—we were really fascinated by WWII,” says Quaid. “Tom Brokaw called them ‘The Greatest Generation.’ And everybody really came together during that time, and it’s amazing.” Although the events of WWII occurred over 75 years ago, Quaid notes, “There’s a lot we can still learn from that generation. They really saved the world for us.”
On October 22nd, the lobby of the Regal Pinnacle transformed into a reception hall as the evening began with patrons streaming in from the brisk autumn air to enjoy live music and a catered meal with fellow movie lovers. In the VIP tent, decorated with World War II military paraphernalia and Midway art, the festivities kicked off with a special address and photo opportunity with Dennis Quaid. As the sun began to set, press outlets and patrons gathered under the large Pinnacle marquee to line the red carpet in anticipation of Quaid’s arrival. The star of the night appeared from his black SUV to thunderous applause before stepping onto the carpet to meet and greet with fans, during which time Quaid couldn’t help but reveal his Elvis Presley socks, a timely wardrobe accoutrement that endeared him to the Tennessee crowd in what was his first trip to Knoxville.
Following countless selfies and signatures on the red carpet, Quaid took to the stage inside the lobby to address his fans and praise the work Variety of Eastern Tennessee has done in its community. “They raised $10 million, over $10 million, and…it says a lot about a community too that everybody pitches in and helps everyone else out,” said Quaid. “Families really need a lot of help, and it’s kids, you know. We’ve all got to take care of our kids.”
Dennis Quaid addressing the crowd on stage at the exclusive benefit screening of Midway (2019)
It’s no coincidence that Midway opens nationwide on Veteran’s Day weekend. The movie honors the sacrifices men and women of the United States military have made and continue to make every day to protect our country. “It’s for all you veterans out there and your families, the ones who stay at home,” said Quaid. “God bless you for taking care of us.”
After the address, Quaid helped unveil two stone slabs commemorating the exclusive benefit screening that will soon take their place under the Regal Pinnacle marquee among similar recognitions of past Variety screenings, including Patrick Wilson’s appearance for Aquaman in 2018, Channing Tatum’s appearance for Logan Lucky in 2017, and Tom Cruise’s visit to Knoxville for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back in 2016. Other celebrity appearances for past Variety fundraisers include Hugh Jackman, Jack Black, Liam Hemsworth, and Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner.
Midway is now playing at Regal.