'Tiger Rising' has weekend release, local screenings announced

Submitted photoStars Christian Convery and Dennis Quaid shown on set on Thomasville’s Greenwood Plantation during 2019 filming of “The Tiger Rising.”

The highly anticipated release of a motion picture with deep Thomasville connections happened this weekend, and producers are announcing the availability of local screenings, including a special Thomasville-only opportunity.

"The Tiger Rising," a full-length motion picture starring Queen Latifah, Dennis Quaid, Christian Convery, Sam Trammell and Katherine McPhee, among others, opened in limited release at 800 U.S. theatres on Friday, including Gateway Cinemas locally. Gateway Cinemas has listed several showtimes for the film daily over the next several days.

Co-producer Allen Cheney, a Thomas County native and partner in Thomasville Pictures, said a special drive-in screening is also being arranged for Saturday evening, January 29, to allow local residents an extra opportunity to see the movie, which completed principal filming in Thomasville and other south Georgia locations during 2019.

“I am so excited to see this amazing project finally in theaters,” Cheney said. “Thomasville is my hometown and a place I want to pour into however I can, and we’re so thankful for the support we received from the community. It meant the world for this to be the very first film that we produced in Thomasville, and we are thrilled to finally share it with the world.

“And, for our Thomasville family and friends, we are excited to offer this special drive-in screening event next Saturday where the director will introduce the film,” he added.

The drive-in screening is free, but those interested must pre-register by logging on to www.thomasvillepictures.com/tigerrisingeventrsvp for details in order to attend.

Directed by Ray Giarratana, the film is based on the bestselling children’s novel by Kate DiCamillo and follows the personal journey of a young boy (Convery) and his discovery of a tiger being kept by Quaid’s character in the woods near the motel where he lives with his father (Trammell). With the help of a wise motel housekeeper (Latifah), the boy comes to terms with unresolved issues over the death of his mother (McPhee).

Principal filming took place at two local elementary schools — Harper Elementary and Scott Elementary — as well as a number of private homes in the community and on the property of the former Greenwood Plantation, now the Greenwood Research Foundation Preserve.

“We loved working with this group, and, for our first major motion picture, our residents, our businesses, our accommodations all really stepped up to meet the needs of the cast and crew,” said City of Thomasville Tourism and Event Venues Manager Bonnie Hayes. “It was evident that this is an industry our citizens support, and that did not go unnoticed by the producers and directors who have since brought other movie projects back to our city.”

Following the positive experience with “The Tiger Rising,” Thomasville Pictures has filmed several other motion pictures at least partially in the community, including “One Way,” starring Kevin Bacon, Travis Fimmel and Colson Baker, more commonly known as Machine Gun Kelly;  “Supercell,” a tornado-disaster film starring Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche; and “Bandit,” a true crime feature starring Mel Gibson and Josh Duhamel. 

“Having this be a family-friendly film with major stars like Queen Latifah and Dennis Quaid… well, we couldn’t have asked for a better first movie experience,” Hayes added.

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