Rory Ferreira invited 79 of his closest friends and never-met strangers to the 4:20 p.m. showing of “Sorry to Bother You” at the Nickelodeon theater in Portland on Saturday. And they didn’t have to pay even a nickel to see the film.
Ferreira, a Biddeford rapper whose stage name is Milo, bought all 129 of the $7 seats to the movie, a sci-fi satire that includes messages about race and culture. As patrons arrived at the theater on Saturday, employees told them they could see a movie for free.
Seventy-nine people took Ferreira up on the offer of a free movie, many of them making a spur-of-the-moment decision when entering the movieplex.
Ferreira said he was inspired by rapper Boots Riley, the film’s director, to do something good for society and raise awareness, so he decided to buy out the showing so everyone could attend.
“Yo, portland maine,” Ferreira tweeted. “Catch a flick wit me. i bought out the 4:20 showing of ‘Sorry to Bother You’ at the nickelodeon.”
Ferreira, 26, while putting salt on his popcorn before entering the theater, said Saturday that he’s pleased so many came out to see the movie.
“Bent,” Ferreira said. “I’m just happy to see this movie get some attention, and happy to show appreciation.”
The movie follows the story of Cassius Green – portrayed by Lakeith Stanfield – a down-on-his-luck millennial living in his uncle’s garage. Desperate for work, he takes a job telemarketing. When Green, who is black, discovers he can imitate a “white voice,” his sales for the company skyrocket.
The movie is in a limited-edition run – there appeared to be no other movie theaters in Maine showing it this past week – but it’s getting rave reviews and generating buzz among movie fans.
“When I first heard about this movie, I wondered, will I have to go to Boston to see it?” Ferreira told the Press Herald on Friday. “I thought it was really cool that the Nickelodeon even had it. Then I wondered, will people go see this here? I don’t know. There is work to do here, you know what I mean? Is Maine ready? Maybe if I do this they’ll be interested. Who wants to see this thing with me?”
Devin Bee of Biddeford said he was excited to see the movie.
“I’m stoked. It’s super cool and going to be a lot of fun,” Bee said.
Sophie Scott of Portland said she had seen a story in the Press Herald about the free movie, and quickly made plans.
“I heard about it at 3 p.m. today, and texted my friend to meet me here,” Scott said. “I was interested in seeing it, so this is great.”
Biddeford rapper Rory Ferreira buys popcorn and soda from the concessions stand at the Nickelodeon in Portland on Saturday afternoon before the start of “Sorry to Bother You.” (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)
The audience settles in for the 4:20 p.m. showing of “Sorry to Bother You” at Nickelodeon Cinemas on Saturday. About 80 people claimed free seats out of 124 available. Another 15 seats were reserved for friends and family of the Ferreiras. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald)