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Oak Park Theater hosts premiere of Duhamel’s “Buddy Games”

Oak Park Theater hosts movie premiere

Submitted Photo Minot native Josh Duhamel co-produced, directed and stars in “Buddy Games,” highlighted in this movie poster. The film premieres in Minot Friday, with a sneak peek Thursday.

It’s rather out of the ordinary for a second-run movie venue to host a premiere, but it’s happening this week at Minot’s Oak Park Theater.

Minot native Josh Duhamel requested Paramount debut his latest movie, which he co-produced, directed and stars in, at Oak Park Theater. “Buddy Games,” is a comedy that will have a limited opening on Friday. Minot-area theater-goers will get a sneak peek at a special showing Thursday at 7 p.m.

The sneak peek is a first for Oak Park Theater, which picks up major movies only after appearances at the first-run theaters, said theater owner Al Schon. He said he plans to continue showings as long as the public wants to attend.

Duhamel’s mother, Bonny Kemper, and sister, Ashlee Deschamp, are planning a premiere to be held Sunday for close friends and family. Kemper explained COVID-19 pandemic requirements mandate a smaller, invitation-only event. Even with the scale-back, Duhamel will attend, the red carpet will be rolled out and guests will receive special “Buddy Game” facial masks.

“We are restricted in what we can do, but we would like to get the roll-out to the city of Minot,” Kemper said. “It’s only one of three places in the country where they are premiering it.”

The other locations are Fargo and Minneapolis.

“North Dakota is his home,” Kemper said of Duhamel. “It’s where he grew up. He still has family and friends here and he wants to share this with Minot.”

He also wanted the showing to take place at Oak Park because of the theater’s history in Minot, she said. Oak Park Theater also has greater seating capacity than a multi-cinema theater, enabling more people to be part of the premiere.

At a time when few movies are being made – another casualty of the pandemic – “Buddy Games” is finding its way to theaters almost two years after shooting.

“Buddy Games” is described as a wild, hilarious, no-holds-barred comedy. After six lifelong friends have a five-year falling out, Bob (Duhamel), known as “The Bobfather,” reunites his pals for the Buddy Games, an insane competition of absurd physical and mental challenges with the chance to win a $150,000 pot. The determined dudes fight, claw and party for the big bucks.

In addition to Duhamel, known for his role in the “Transformers” movies, the film’s cast includes Dax Shepard (CHiPs), Olivia Munn (Office Christmas Party) and Kevin Dillon (Entourage).

Tickets, including for the Thursday preview, can be obtained online at oakparktheater.net. Online purchases are encouraged as pandemic requirements limit seating to 100 people.

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