Christmas is coming early to TC this year as Michael Moore and Traverse City’s State Theatre host the Michigan premiere of the expected blockbuster "Avatar," Thursday, December 17. Moore made the call to James Cameron and his producing partner Jon Landau who graciously and enthusiastically agreed to hold the Michigan premiere of their much-anticipated holiday blockbuster, "Avatar," in Traverse City.

This premiere will be a one-time-only, one-show-only event, the likes of which the State has never experienced since re-opening the historic movie palace in 2007. It’s all happening Thursday, December 17, at 9 pm. It will be a benefit premiere and 100% of the proceeds will be split between the food banks of Northwest Michigan and the nonprofit Traverse City Film Festival/State Theatre restoration project.

Tickets/donations will be $15. Those of you who are loyal members of the State Theatre will get first crack at the tickets beginning at noon tomorrow (Wednesday). Tickets will be available in person at the box office or you can buy them with a credit card by phone (231-947-3446 or 231-392-1134). Please limit 2 tickets per person. Then at 6 pm, the theatre will release to the general public whatever tickets are still available. Tickets are expected to sell out quickly.

"Avatar" is already being hailed as a landmark movie. A number of critics have called it the best movie of the year and one even said that from this point on, movies will be discussed as having been made "Before ‘Avatar’ and After ‘Avatar’." Roger Ebert has called it "this generation’s ‘Star Wars’." What has enthralled those who’ve attended early screenings in Hollywood (the movie has been kept under strict wraps with no one from the public intended to see it until Friday) is that this is not just a special effects movie, but rather a special effects movie with a great story and great acting. "The special effects serve the story, not the other way around," "Avatar’s" star, Sigourney Weaver, told Jon Stewart last night.

James Cameron has spent the last 12 years of his life on this masterpiece (his first film since "Titanic"). Today it was nominated for Best Picture by the Golden Globes. When Moore asked him for this favor for Traverse City, Cameron immediately went to work to make this happen. Moore told him that the generosity of his spirit will be felt by everyone here. This one night event will help the nonprofit State Theatre get through the winter — but much more importantly, it will put food on the table for hundreds of area families who are going through very tough times right now. Cameron said that he knew what Michigan was going through and was happy to help in this small way.

Of course, it won’t be small for us in Northern Michigan! Be among the first people in North America to see this truly amazing film and make a difference in your community at the same time.

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