Special Needs Viewing

Special family.jpg“Recently I went to the movies with my husband and we saw The Fault in our Stars. A must see if you ask me. This was one of the only movies we’ve ever seen that was 1- without our children and 2- not a special needs viewing.

When we went to look at the menu to see what we wanted we noticed we couldn’t see the menu. I looked around the theater and saw phones being used as lights. We never really had to do this before. Just one of the things I take for granted when seeing a special needs viewing. Next, the movie started, oh my ears!! The volume was so incredibly high I thought. Actually, it was the typical volume of a movie. I had been pampered at the Studio Movie Grill special needs viewings. The volume is perfect in those screenings.

If you haven’t been to a special needs viewing perhaps it is because you do not have a special needs child. I hope that if you have a special needs child you will go check out these unique screenings. The lights are lowered but not completely and the volume is not crazy loud. Children are encouraged to get up and move around if they need to and no one complains if a child makes noises or laughs. There is something really nice about not having to keep your child quiet so others are not offended.

During one of the special needs viewings I have heard feeding pumps, oxygen, suction machines, children making noises or stimming and all I thought was, these people get it. Unless you are a parent of a child labeled special needs you can not understand what it feels like to be somewhere and have your child be their self but by that I mean disrupt others who don’t understand.

Another perk to the special need viewing is the cost. Children with special needs and their siblings get in for free and adult pay a discounted rate. Without this program my family would not be able to see a movie. My husband and I have 8 children. Half of our children have special needs. Every week my children spend most of the day with a babysitter or at the hospital with me. The kids that don’t have appointments stay with the sitter and the ones who do have the appointments and therapies go with me. This is the one time we get to be together as a family and not worry about anything. It is one “normal” thing we get to do and for that I am so grateful. I can not adequately express how much it this program means to me.

Thank you so much Studio Movie Grill for creating non medical memories my family will always cherish.”

Be blessed

Ashlee Beck


A Word From Charlotte Parent…

Charlotte Parent logo 

Working with the Studio Movie Grill this summer, through a partnership with Charlotte Parent Magazine, has been extremely exciting! We worked closely in promoting the 2013 Children’s Summer Movie Series through a fun and interactive social media and movie trivia contest promotion. Each week the trivia question was related to the week’s special feature!  

 Winners were picked at random each week and were awarded with a pack of four free movie passes to attend the film for the week!

 To conclude our promotion and celebrate the accomplishments of our winners, we hosted Charlotte Parent Day at the Studio Movie Grill for the film, Charlotte’s Web! We hosted on-site trivia, gave away tons of wonderful prizes, and did arts and crafts with the children!

 Charlotte Parent Magazine loves working with the Studio Movie Grill and looks forward to many more fun promotional opportunities with them!

— Maria C. Vita

Sales and Marketing Assistant

Charlotte Parent

A Word From Variety, the Children’s Charity of Texas

Variety - The Children CharityVariety, The Children’s Charity of Texas has been empowering children with special needs since 1936. It is because of loyal and generous supporters like Studio Movie Grill that Variety continues to further this mission every day. SMG’s compassion and unwavering support for the special needs community is what makes our partnership so strong.

For the past eight years, SMG has provided precious opportunities, at no cost, for Variety kids and their siblings to attend special movie screenings with a sense of peace that they will not be judged. By altering the sound and lighting, children with special needs are able to sit in the audience and just be the amazing kids that they are.  Not only is this a moment for a child with special needs to be offered a moment to live like any other kid, but it is a moment that an entire family can spend together.

Special Needs Children attend a screening of Smurfs 2 at an SMG location.

Studio Movie Grill has seen incredible growth over the past few years, and because of this, the special needs screenings have thrived as well.  SMG is supporting more Variety kids now than ever before!

To everyone at Studio Movie Grill, thank you for making our kids a priority. These special outings mean more than you will ever know.  

Amanda Ernst

Program Director

Variety, The Children’s Charity of Texas


What Women In Film Dallas Has To Say About SMG

For years Studio Movie Grill has opened their theater doors wide for Women in Film. They have been critically important in helping us carry out our mission to promote female filmmakers.  SMG has been a true partner by providing us with a venue to screen movies by women and by helping us to publicize the films we are screening.  Lynne McQuaker also recommends excellent films that we have in turn sponsored or promoted to our contacts. Whenever the public sees great movies by (or even about women), we help advance women in the industry and subsequently everywhere. The percentage of female filmmakers falls far below where it should be and the depictions of women in media are too often disturbing. SMG truly cares about our cause and demonstrates their commitment time and time again.  We are grateful every time, SMG says, “Yes” to another WIF.D screening. Our board, our members, and our guests always feel welcome at any location. We enjoy a good movie with tasty food and beverage – all for a good cause. What could be more fun?! And at every location, the staff is always courteous and accommodating. We treasure our partnership with Studio Movie Grill and look forward to many more years of collaboration. Together we have opened a lot of people’s eyes about what it means to be a woman in film or just a woman in general.
Lisha Brock, President
Women in Film.Dallas


Women in Film.Dallas Mix & Mingle in lobby before screening (Courtesy: Lorie Valle)


Q&A after Women in Film and Television International Showcase. Left to right – Lisha Brock (president of WIF.D), Courtney Ware, and Meredith Burke (Courtesy Michael Schulze)


Q&A after Women in Film and Television International Showcase. Left to right – Lisha Brock (president of WIF.D), Courtney Ware (Courtesy Michael Schulze)



SMG Brings Movie Night to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Egleston

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Studio Movie Grill has had an ongoing relationship with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and last month, that relationship became even more personal to SMG employees when they hand delivered toys from the Show You Care Bear drive directly to children in the hospital.

Following that outreach event, SMG Holcomb manager, Wayne Simpson recounts an initiative taken on by some staff members eager to keep giving to their community:


Garrett Ivie of Studio Movie Grill Holcomb donned a self-made Iron Man costume for Movie Night at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“From the contact we made delivering the Teddy Bears last month we were invited back to host a movie day for the young patients.


SMG Supervisor Karen Lopez, Server Sharon Orina, Manager Wayne Simpson, and Iron Man stop to pose for a photo.

One of our team members, Garrett Ivie, who was very creative, had made an Iron Man costume which he wore during our premier.  Birdie and I asked him to come today, as well as our Supervisor Karen Lopez, Server Sharon Orina to host the movie day for the kids.

There were so many stories today from patients we encountered at the hospital.  One young boy about 5 told Iron Man that he was his biggest fan and gave Garrett a big hug.  We encountered another group in the cafeteria having a cake.  Thinking it was their birthday, I brought our Iron Man over to their table.

After getting their pictures taken with Iron Man, one of them asked us to wait and then ran around the corner to the chapel coming back with his 30-40 year old son.  The man introduced us to his son, saying that this [son] was his Iron Man.

After posing with Garrett, the son told us how his son had lost his battle with cancer that morning and how Garrett had cheered him by being there.  So many of the kids ran up to meet him today.  It was amazing to put a smile on so many of those young kids for what has to be a difficult time in their lives.

Iron Man poses with doctors at Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta.

Iron Man poses with doctors at Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta.

I’m a very proud of our team and was humbled to have the privilege of being there as well.

We have made a commitment from our team here at Holcomb to host their movie day once a month.  From our end we are providing little gift baskets for the kids and simply being present to them to greet them and give them the baskets after the movie.  We may do some other costumed characters in the future as it was such a positive experience for the children.”

Iron Man and his two heroes in training

Iron Man and his two heroes in training

SMG Wheaton Chef Castano Penn on SMG Chefs for Children


SMG Chef Castano Penn initiated the SMG Chefs for Children program in April, 2013. 5% of the proceeds from Chefs for Children menu items are donated to nonprofits aiding families with special needs children.

Being a chef and feeding others isn’t just about food – for me, it’s also always been a way to nurture people. I can show someone I’m thinking about them by preparing their favorite dish, taking into account an allergy, or preparing a dish for someone who has recently been sick or stressed out.

This perspective is what spurred me to create the SMG Chefs for Children program. Chefs are creative and nurturing folks – what better way to combine the two than this program which allows our chefs to create their own specials all while helping kids in their own communities?

This program is personal to me. My five year old son is autistic. My wife and I are so fortunate that there has been so much more research done in this area and we are grateful for the programs that help our son reach his ultimate potential. Children deserve amazing opportunities and I thought this program could be my small way of saying, “You’re important, we care about you, and we’re going to do what we can to help!”

I’m thrilled that SMG home office was receptive to my idea and I am really happy with the energy with which this program has been greeted! I look forward to more charitable partnering in the future!

Jorie Meyer of WDSRA says…

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association - Equal Fun for Everyone!

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association

What has Studio Movie Grill-Wheaton done for us, you ask?

What have they not done for us!

SMG has supported the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) since the day they opened. Creating a partnership together to help one another, we are happy to spread       the word about their Special Screenings for people with disabilities. An opportunity where parents can bring their child to a movie without worrying about them being disruptive, pacing the theatre, or laughing out loud at inappropriate times. WDSRA families our thrilled with these opportunities!

In addition, SMG has provided us with complimentary movie tickets for our day programs, day camps, and our Movie Critics and Cinema Cruisers movie programs. Our participants are constantly asking if we can go back to SMG. The atmosphere, the service, they have it all! Thank you SMG for supporting WDSRA, you are truly making a difference in the community!

Jorie A. Meyer, CTRS

The WDSRA Rec & Roll group enjoys an outing to SMG Wheaton.

The WDSRA Rec & Roll group enjoys an outing to SMG Wheaton.