Boardrooms and schoolrooms may look emptier than usual on Friday as science fiction fans play hooky, but a handful of bosses have decided: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Insight Sourcing Group, a Norcross-based “boutique procurement consulting firm,” is renting out one of the auditoriums at the Studio Movie Grill in Alpharetta, and sending all 125 employees, plus spouses and significant others, to a galaxy far, far away.
“Our CEO likes to keep everybody motivated and keep everybody happy,” said director of marketing Josh Stancil.
In addition to watching “The Last Jedi” together, employees will be treated to drinks and snacks. Renting the theater will cost about $7,000, and the fact that the company is forgoing billable hours for that day means it’s investing about $30,000 in the event, said Stancil.
The company did the same thing in 2015, when they attended “The Force Awakens” en masse. (When they announced the planned outing at a staff meeting, the senior staff turned up dressed in Imperial and Rebellion gear.)
Cardlytics, a data analytics firm, will also go into hyperdrive Friday, taking over a screen at the Hollywood Stadium 24 in Chamblee on Friday.
Luckily, this time of year is a little slow anyway, which gives the supervisors an opportunity to do something nice for the staff, said Somers. “Our people are fantastic, they work very, very hard,” and they deserve a treat, he said.
“I imagine in two years we’ll do it again,” when Disney is expected to release the final episode.
This enthusiasm is a measure of how deeply “Star Wars” culture has permeated the popular imagination.
It also reflects the age of the series. Many senior executives were teenagers when the first installment appeared in 1977. Now they’re bosses, and if they want to treat their employees, they can think of nothing lovelier.
“I’m 49, and half of the office will be that demographic,” said Rick Harber, chief problem solver at Decision Digital, which will also use the Force on Friday. “We’re the ones who grew up with the original stories.”
The 14 folks from the Sandy Springs office of Decision Digital will see the movie in 3-D at the Regal Perimeter Pointe Stadium 10 in Dunwoody. Harber’s company builds and supports computer networks for midsized companies, and he suggests that “Star Wars” has special appeal for the techie demographic. “In the IT business, people seem a little more predisposed to being science fiction fans,” he said.
Certainly the tech support geniuses at Cox Media Group, of which The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is a part, feel the same way. About 50 or so IT professionals from CMG will attend the movie Friday — the third year in a row they’ve celebrated the holidays with a day at the theater.
The only challenge for some attendees is that a work-related trip to the theater means they won’t be seeing the premiere with some family members. “There will be spoiler requirements in my household,” said Somers, of Cardlytics, whose son, Jack, 18, doesn’t want to hear about it.