Is Harold Finch smarter than a fifth-grader?

tporter@lsjournal.comOctober 16, 2013 

  • $7,397.40

    Per screen average of the film “Unlimited” following its limited release with a mix of sold-out showings in local theaters that included AMC Town Center 20, AMC Independence Commons, AMC Studio 30, AMC Barry Woods 24 and Dickinson Eastglen 16 in Lee’s Summit.

Aliya Finch was understandably giddy.

Her grandfather, Harold Finch, was more stoic in his approach.

Nevertheless the Lee’s Summit girl and her world-renowned grandparent were among a dozen or so cast and crew members on hand for a question and answer session Oct. 10 following the premiere of “Unlimted,” a fictional film inspired by the real-life exploits of Harold Finch.

The movie is about a brilliant student whose life has taken a series of wrong turns. At the point of giving up on his dreams, he gets a call from an old professor who has discovered a breakthrough in a device that would create unlimited energy.

The film, in which Harold Finch makes a brief appearance and Aliya is featured as a main orphan, was released nationally in limited theaters the following day, but the premiere gave the young Finch and her older relative a chance to showcase the movie in front of family and friends at Cinemark Theaters in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza.

That fact was not lost on the younger Finch, a fifth-grade student at Summit Christian Academy in Lee’s Summit.

“I’m really excited that I actually get to see this movie,” she said when asked about premiering the film near her hometown. “Sometimes, I just look at it and say, ‘how in the world did I do this and how can my Grandfather be this smart?’”

Harold Finch, who also serves as executive producer for the movie, is a former scientist who played a key role as a project director for NASA’s Apollo spacecraft program. Among his list of accomplishments, Finch pioneered the thermodynamic computer systems needed to protect astronauts and lunar vehicles against heating and cooling hazards on outer space voyages. Additionally, his team developed the Barbecue Roll made famous by Tom Hanks in the movie “Apollo 13.”

As an educator, Finch, a Lee’s Summit resident, was also instrumental in founding Johnson County Community College. This past year, he was awarded the University of Kansas School of Engineering’s highest honor – the 2013 Distinguished Service Award and was entered into the Hall of Honor.

“The invention is waiting to happen,” Finch said after he was asked following the viewing about the possibility of unlimited energy. “It could have happened 100 years ago. The technology is there and it’s just a matter of tapping into the world’s ultra magnetic field and converting it into usable energy. The world is just one big magnet – the North Pole and the South Pole. It really is pretty easy stuff.”

According to a press release form the movie’s producers, “Unlimited” opened strong in Kansas City, becoming the third highest grossing movie nationwide this weekend in terms of per screen average (combining theater and Seatzy ticket sales). The movie averaged $7,397.40 per screen in its limited release with a mix of sold-out showings in local theaters that included AMC Town Center 20, AMC Independence Commons, AMC Studio 30, AMC Barry Woods 24 and Dickinson Eastglen 16 in Lee’s Summit.

The per screen average was third only to “Gravity” and “Captain Phillips” in the market, overshadowing national per screen averages of other new independent movies such as “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” ($1,730 per screen) and “Machete Kills” ($1,512 per screen).

With its recent box office success, plans are currently underway to roll out a nationwide release of the film in spring of 2014 with opening cities to be announced at a later date.

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