Thousands of teenagers across the United States and Canada are going to the movies, courtesy of Major League Baseball and all 30 teams.
Private screenings will be held for the acclaimed film "42," with clubs selecting students in the eighth through 12th grades to attend private screenings at local theaters. Commissioner Bud Selig will personally host the first event Tuesday night in Milwaukee along with Sharon Robinson, MLB Educational Programming consultant and daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, whose role in helping break baseball's color line is featured.
"'42' brilliantly depicts not only the proudest and most powerful event in baseball history, but also a watershed moment in American history and the civil rights movement," Selig said. "This film is a profound way for all of us throughout Major League Baseball to educate our next generation about Jackie Robinson's vital impact on our nation.
"I thank Thomas Tull and his colleagues for working with the Robinson family and allowing this enduring American story to be told to a worldwide audience. With our annual April 15th celebration, the wideranging efforts of all 30 clubs and now this inspirational film, it is an honor for our industry to continue to shine a light on the vibrant legacy of Jackie Robinson."
All students selected will see the movie free of charge and can also share their experience online via iam42.com.
The film is currently in theaters and stars Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Academy Award nominee Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers executive who signed Robinson to the team. Presented by Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, "42" is written and directed by Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland and is a Legendary Pictures Production.
In its opening weekend, "42" took in $27.5 million, marking the best opening weekend ever for a baseball movie, according to multiple industry references.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com.