'The Help' premiere tickets cost up to $500

By Charlie Smith/The Greenwood Commonwealth

GREENWOOD — If you’ve got an extra $500, you could be chumming with the stars of “The Help” and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour at the movie’s premiere later this month.

This morning, officials announced pricing on ticket packages for the July 30 screening at the Malco Grandview in Madison.

They range from $100 to watch the movie to $500 for the elite Director’s Package.

A number of stars will attend, but the list of exactly who it will be hasn’t been set yet, Bill Crump, chairman of the Greenwood-Leflore-Carroll Economic Development Foundation, said this morning.

The movie, based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel, stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Stone is a white college graduate who writes a story about the lives of Davis, Spencer and other black maids, forming a friendship with them while challenging social mores of the segregated South.

It was shot mostly in Greenwood last summer. Director Tate Taylor had promised a Greenwood premiere, but it fell through due to cost concerns.

“The Help” is being released nationwide Aug. 10.

The screening is a fundraiser for a recreation center in Greenwood’s Baptist Town community, where several scenes were shot.

All proceeds will be used by the nonprofit Baptist Town Community Development in the ongoing revitalization of the century-old, historically black neighborhood.

“During the filming in Baptist Town, it became apparent to members of the cast and crew that there was a large amount of potential talent and imagination present within the Baptist Town community,” Chris Columbus, one of the producers of “The Help,” said in a prepared statement. His directing credits include the first two “Harry Potter” films and “Home Alone.”

The community center will include a reading and writing program, music, arts, film and theater workshops and a computer lab.

“The cast and crew of ‘The Help’ made a lot of friends in Greenwood over the course of the filming last summer. We appreciate their continued interest in our community and its people. This screening on behalf of Baptist Town is further evidence of their true desire to stay connected with us,” Crump said.

Besides the movie’s being set and filmed in Mississippi, the filmmakers have strong ties to the state. Stockett, Taylor and Producer Brunson Green all grew up in Jackson.

Three ticket packages are available for the premiere:

— The $500 Director’s Package includes a reserved seat in a private theater screening of “The Help” with the stars of the movie, cocktails and refreshments during the movie and a private reception following the screening hosted by Barbour and his wife to honor the stars.

— The $250 Producer’s Package will begin with a private reception with the stars prior to the screening at The Fairview Inn in Jackson, the screening with the stars and refreshments during the movie.

— The $100 Individual Screening Package will include the screening and refreshments.

All packages will include a limited-edition, commemorative movie poster.

There are a limited number of tickets available.