Movie Premiere Excites Residents with City Sites

By at November 30, 2017 | 3:15 pm | Print


Residents finally got to see the movie made in New Britain “A Very Merry Toy Store” Sunday night on Lifetime and had mixed reviews.

The movie was about Connie Forrester (Melissa Joan Hart), a young single mom, and Will DiNova (Mario Lopez). Each run their small, family-owned toy stores. Similar to their families, Connie and Will have been business rivals for years, until both of their livelihoods fall into jeopardy when the big box toy store “Roy’s Toys” has its grand opening right before Christmas. In order to save their businesses, Connie and Will band together to save the stores that have defined their families for generations, and in the process, find love in time for Christmas. The film also stars Beth Broderick, Brian Dennehy, Billy Gardell, Mario Cantone, Dan Amboyer and Tara Strong. “A Very Merry Toy Store” is produced by Hartbreak Films. Paula Hart and Melissa Joan Hart executive producer.

At a premiere held by Amato’s Toy and Hobby in an East Street building over 200 people turned out to enjoy it on a big screen. The Whey Station and Nora’s Cupcakes, who were in the movie, was also on hand serving food.

“We like hosting events for the community,” said Todd Cheney whose family owns the East St. building the event was held. “Amatos are great people. Anything for charity is always a good time.”

“The Amatos are always there and the trains are so fun to look at especially at Christmas time,” said Patricia Gibson. “We had to come see the movie. It feels like we have been shopping at Amato’s for 150 years.”

Local Attorney Adrian Baron, who was in the Polka band during one scene was at the premiere. He made it into a scene in the movie as he was called to find a polka band. He started calling around and then bought red vests, hats and bowties. He used a friends instruments and got some local residents together to be the polka band.

At one point the music went out and they were asked to play some polka music, but none of them knew how.

“It is nice for New Britain. This really brought the town together,” said Baron. “It put the City in a good spotlight.”

Nancy Barrow & Stevey Newnez from 93.7 were on hand and introduced the Amatos before the movie began.

“I want to thank you all for being here. It means so much to Steven and I,” Sheri Amato told the crowd.

“Love the support. It is great support for New Britain,” said Steve Amato. “Thanks for supporting us all these years. It means a lot.”

One of the highlights was a commercial in the movie by Amato’s Toy and Hobby featuring the Mercier family. The crowd clapped loudly for it as well as various scenes throughout the movie featuring City Hall, Amato’s Toy Store, Miss Washington Diner and more. A small glitch happened with about 10 minutes left in the movie as it shut off leaving the crowd mystified. It was soon rectified and those in attendance were able to see the end of the movie.

“It was a fun movie. My sister Sheri Pike Amato rocked it,” said Danica Levesque. “Had a blast watching it with everyone. Thank you Sheri and Steven Amato for putting on a great event. The fundraiser event will benefit not only the local food pantry but the children as well.”

Proceeds will go to the Salvation Army in New Britain. The Amatos also match the donations each year throughout the holiday season to provide toys and gifts to city families in need.

Geri O’Keefe-Curtis said, “It was fun being part of a big group watching it together. Wasn’t expecting Academy Award performances but liked that New Britain was mentioned many times and I was able to spot places and people I knew!”

Following the movie, residents took to Facebook to voice their opinions on the premiers.

“It was nice to see New Britain mentioned so many times and nice to see NB landmarks,” said Anastasia Rulkowski. “Movie itself was okay.”

“New Britain and City Hall and Miss Washington Dinner looked good,” said Frank Bradley. ‘But the acting was B movie at best.”

“Nice to see familiar sites, and New Britain was mentioned several times,” said Maryann Liburdi. “It was a cute little feel good movie to watch around the holidays.”

“I loved it, my son is in it the one in white shirt and my other children as well. It was nice seeing our city and familiar places and faces in it,” said Nikkie Delvalle Nauss. “We had such a blast being extras in this great movie and to see it finally together was amazing.”

“I think it was Awesome for New Britain and if it was good or not I don’t care. I liked it,” stated Paul D. Catanzaro. “And because of it a lot more people know New Britain, Connecticut so I thank them for choosing NB and using so many New Britain People.”

“It was a typical Lifetime movie, but it was lots of fun to see familiar people and places! (I had no great expectations for a movie that was filmed in about 3 weeks and in post-production for not much longer),” said Catherine Nyhan Cheney. “It was a bit of fluff, but it was OUR bit of fluff.”

The next showing of the movie will be on Lifetime on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.


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