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film still from A Wrinkle in Time
Mindy Kaling is Mrs. Who, Levi Miller is Calvin O’Keefe, Oprah Winfrey is Mrs. Which, Zach Galifianakis is the Happy Medium, Storm Reid is Meg Murry, Deric McCabe is Charles Wallace Murry and Reese Witherspoon is Mrs. Whatsit in Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME.
Atsushi Nishijima—Walt Disney Pictures

When Ava DuVernay’s newest film, A Wrinkle in Time, opens March 9, many children of color will have a chance to see themselves in the hero of a sci-fi movie—some for the first time.

Now a big movie chain has partnered with a racial justice organization to let people give underprivileged kids a chance to see the film for free.

AMC Theatres has teamed up with Color of Change for the promotion. Would-be patrons can go to and click on "Donate a Ticket"; each $10 given covers one ticket to a matinee showing at an AMC theater. (The donation page notes that the gifts are not tax-deductible charitable donations.) Color of Change will distribute the tickets to local schools and community-based organizations, who will in turn arrange the screenings.

The movie, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel, stories a young girl’s travels through time alongside three guides played by Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon. DuVernay cast Storm Reid, a 15-year-old actress of color in the lead role of Meg Murry; DuVernay herself had already broken ground as the first African-American woman to land a $100 million budget for the film.

Wrinkle is not the first film this year to attract audiences with free screenings. Many local organizations hosted similar showings of Black Panther, which featured black actors and actresses in a blockbuster superhero film. A number of celebrities, including actress Octavia Spencer, journalist Jemele Hill, and rapper Kendrick Lamar, bought out theaters for free screenings.

Winfrey says that DuVernay's casting decisions were particularly important for children of color. “When you don’t see yourself, there is a subconscious psychological manifestation. It’s diminishing,” Winfrey told Time. But seeing yourself as a hero “will have impact far beyond anything any marketer, any researcher, any of us even know,” she added.