FT

After a nearly four-year run with the Franklin Theatre, The Movie Gang's future with the venue is now murky for its annual film-related events. 

The group, partially founded by Franklin resident and musician Chad Gilbert (of band New Found Glory), shared Sunday that it may not be continuing its partnership with the theater. 

It had been hosting film screenings at the restored venue, which were usually accompanied by live events, games, other activities and specialty snacks. 

"This December would have been the movie gangs 5th Christmas event since our very first event of Home Alone on December 4th 2015," the group shared in an Instagram post Sunday. "This was a milestone we were very much looking forward to celebrating with you all."

The post said The Movie Gang wanted to address why the organization has been absent from the theater since its April event, a showing of the John Carpenter film Big Trouble in Little China. 

"About a month after our last event," the group wrote, "there was new leadership put in place at the Franklin Theatre. After a meeting with them, our future there looked even more promising. Unfortunately, soon after our meeting communication was little to none if it wasn't pressed by our end. Time went by until one of our movie picks ended up being shown without us in October. We called to get a real explanation." 

The group learned from the theater that copyright concerns had been raised about images used for the promotion of the group's Hook event from November 2018. 

"We have done events since that date and could have easily complied with recommendations for future promotions had we known about these issues," they shared. "But we were not informed until we reached out asking why we were getting radio silence." 

Though the group acknowledged the busy nature of running a theater that doubles as a live event space, the post said that "the reality we face is that The Movie Gang is not as important as we thought.”   

"After 32 events (the majority of which were sell-outs), it is alarming how quickly things could change," the post read. "How easy it was to push aside all the work, community, and regular fanbase we built. This happens with business and with change." 

The Movie Gang said it heard mention in a conversation in October of being able to start things again with the theater in 2020, but that a lack of confirmations for future dates makes the group's run with the organization look "more doubtful." 

"The way we are feeling is that moving forward with the Franklin Theatre sounds very counter-productive to the goal we worked toward and accomplished with past leadership," the post said. "We wanted to create a night for Uber movie fans. For the community of Franklin who loves sharing movies with their friends and feeling as close to the film as possible. 

"For us to continue to build this and for it to be halted so fast is very discouraging. We hope you understand this dilemma and place of confusion." 

The group says for the community to keep a lookout for future events it could be involved with and thanked fans for their support and patience. 

The Movie Gang's mission is described on its Facebook page as one that "seeks to share nostalgic movies with creative events, games, art, and raffles in the historic Franklin Theater. Our mission is to create a community that thrives on good clean fun and each other." 

Gilbert also is involved with the annual BreakFAST music concerts at The Factory.

In a comment on the Movie Gang's Instagram post, the Nashville Elvis Festival, traditionally held at the theater, also shared that they would not be returning to the venue in 2020.

They are now hosting the event at The Factory March 19-22. 

"New management at Franklin Theatre has also ensured that Nashville Elvis Festival is no longer there," the comment read. "After three successful years, and nearly a half million dollars in ticket sales, they didn’t see our value either." 

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, which owns the Franklin Theatre, hired former Ryman Auditorium general manager and Franklin resident Paul T. Couch to be the interim executive director of the multipurpose theater in June after former executive director Dan Hays left the role.

The Home Page reached out to the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County for comment, but they had no replied at the time of publication. 

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