January 18, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie That Features Space Camp Will Air on ABC

Actors Jessy Schram, left, John Corbett and Cynthia Watros during the filming for the movie, "A Smile as Big as the Moon," at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. (The Huntsville Times/Robin Conn)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that features the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Space Camp will be broadcast on ABC on Jan. 29, with premieres scheduled in five cities, including Huntsville, before then.

And, Dr. Deborah Barnhart, the center's CEO, believes exposure from the movie, "A Smile as Big as the Moon," will drive up the number of Space Camp bookings.

"I hope next month, we can take your breath away," Barnhart said Wednesday at a meeting of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission's executive committee. The center is already getting calls, she said, since the release of a trailer for the movie, which stars John Corbett.

The movie is based on a book by the same name by Mike Kersjes, a high school football coach and special-education teacher from Grand Rapids, Mich., who worked with another teacher to bring some special-needs students to Space Camp in 1988. Kersjes wrote the book with Joe Layden.

"It's perfection," Barnhart said of the movie. "I know I'm biased, (but) it's right on target. It's beautifully told and the characters are engaging and well developed."

The center's goal is to sign up 10,000 trainees in the 2012 fiscal year for its most lucrative weeklong Space Camp programs: Space Camp, Space Academy, Advanced Space Academy and Aviation Challenge, and the 12-day Advanced Academy and Mach 3 programs.

"We've booked more than half our goal," with 5,346 people registering or making reservations for the camps so far, Barnhart said.

On Jan. 27, starting at 5:30 p.m., there will be a reception and movie showing at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration's theater. Tickets are $100 per couple, and the cost includes heavy hors d'oeurves, an open bar and an autographed copy of the book and movie poster.

Another movie showing will be at 7 p.m. at the Davidson Center's Saturn V Hall. Tickets are $10 a person, with a cash bar, book signing and food available for purchase.

For tickets, visit spacecamp.com/smilemovie.

Other premiere events are in Houston today, Chicago on Sunday, Grand Rapids on Monday and Los Angeles on Wednesday.

  • For more information, visit http://commerce.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here