Ready, Set, Bag! recently became first film to pre-sell screening tickets using the social commerce site Groupon, selling 294 discounted tickets online for the film’s August 6 theatrical release at Seattle’s Central Cinema.
This was the first time Groupon offered a movie as its deal of the day.
$1 from every Groupon deal sold on Sunday, July 25th was donated to Food Lifeline, funding nearly 600 meals for patron’s of Washington state’s largest hunger relief organization. Ready, Set, Bag! continues the good work by teaming with Central Cinema to donate $1 for every ticket sold at the box office. As of July, screenings of Ready, Set, Bag! have already funded more than 5,000 meals across America. In addition, all ad revenue from the Ready, Set, Bag! online web series, which broadcasts additional footage, celebrity remixes, and fan videos, is also being donated to food banks.
Ready, Set, Bag! is a documentary featuring eight top grocery baggers as they prepare to meet in Las Vegas to compete in the National Grocers Association’s Best Bagger competition. Winners get $2,000 and a nifty plaque, but it’s hardy high stakes. Why, then, follow this story? “The grocery store is a very common experience which is why this film resonates with so many people,” said director Justine Jacob.
There have been enough documentaries that follow a diverse group of characters as they make their way to some sort of competition to form a sub-genre with its own conventions – introduce the characters, introduce the compeition, dig deeper into the competitors’ lives, build up the anticipation for the climactic event and then give the audience a wrap-up and maybe a “Where are they now?” Jacob doesn’t deviate from this formula, but she doesn’t need to – the structure serves the story well.
Eight different state winners are introduced to us, representing a variety of ages, locations, and family histories. Each one is a unique individual, but there’s not particularly special or unusual about any of them, which is the whole charm of this film: we’re not just watching the tale of one year’s competion, of one year’s competitors. This is actually a story about America, a story about the plain, ordinary, hard-working men and women that make up the backbone of this country, and a story about the value of striving to be the best at what you do no matter what it is that you do. These ordinary men and women are interesting and their stories compelling (I dare you to escape the lure of choosing a favorite to root for – I don’t think you can resist) not in spite of their ordinariness but because of it.
Let’s face it – how many of us can even dream of becoming an Olympic champion or a world leader or a household name? Not many, that’s for sure. But we can all hope to do our best, to live a good life, and maybe get a bit of recognition for the things we do well. That hope is the heart of Ready, Set, Bag! and it grabs you and holds you from start to finish. This is a fun, charming and thoughtful movie that just might change the way you look at the service industry people you encounter every day.
Justine Jacob will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A on Friday, August 6.