"Captain Phillips" premiered in a special Vermont showing at the Majestic 10 in Williston Tuesday night. The 600 tickets sold out in just hours.
The movie was donated by Sony for the screening and all the ticket proceeds go to the Sarah Ramsey Strong foundation, a friend of the Phillips family who died in a car accident. They've raised $12,000 for that foundation.
The Majestic rolled out the red carpet for the showing. There was no Tom Hanks, but Governor Douglas and the star of the movie-- the real Capt. Richard Phillips-- were there. Phillips was joined by family and friends.
Reporter Gina Bullard: So many of your friends and family are here tonight, how are you feeling?
Capt. Richard Phillips: Oh, it's a good night. It's good to get back in Vermont where I really like to be, love being, it's great to be doing it here in Vermont.
This gripping thriller that took place thousands of miles away off the coast of Africa was inspired by a Vermonter. "Captain Phillips," the Sony Picture film, is about Richard Phillips of Underhill, who survived a pirate attack. Phillips is played by Tom Hanks.
"I think it's fantastic. And of all people-- Tom Hanks-- to play him," said Maggie Reilly of Essex.
"Oh, I definitely plan to see it," said Robert Wescott of Waterbury.
"Of course! It's Tom Hanks, why not?!" said Meg Sophia of South Burlington.
Phillips was at the helm of the Maersk Alabama five years ago when four armed Somali pirates boarded the cargo vessel and took the captain hostage on a lifeboat for almost five days. The high seas standoff ended with Navy SEAL snipers killing three of the pirates and rescuing Phillips.
"Tom Hanks, a local story-- it doesn't get any better than that," Wescott said.
A drama far away that Vermonters remember vividly playing out here. The nation was on edge hoping for the best and leaving signs of support for the Phillips' family.
"Vermonters have a huge interest in this film," said Merrill Jarvis of the Majestic 10 Cinemas in Williston.
Jarvis says he expects this to be the biggest movie of the fall and says the phone is already ringing off the hook.
"It's what Americans love: Navy SEALs, pirates. Pirate movies always do great," Jarvis said.
Not to mention there's already Oscar buzz about the film.
"We're expecting huge crowds for this film," Jarvis said. "Ticket sales are already brisk and we're going to be playing it at three theaters here."
"I think it's going to be incredible," Reilly said. "Folks like Tom Hanks don't pick movies that don't have a strong message or some meaning."
Sony is so protective of this film premiering in Vermont, it sent in some extra security. There were two guards there all day and Sony sent four more for the showing. There's no pirating these pirates-- four guards will be in the theaters with infrared binoculars making sure no one is taking video of the film. Sony wants no leaks of the movie before Oct. 11 when it hits theaters nationwide.
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