BETTENDORF -- After attending red carpet premieres in New York City and Los Angeles earlier in the week, filmmakers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck landed in Moline on last Saturday afternoon about two hours before another scheduled screening of the blockbuster thriller they wrote together.
The Bettendorf-born duo considered this showing of “A Quiet Place,” -- at the Davenport theater where they grew up seeing movies – “by far the most important of them all.”
Before the screening, though, Woods needed a nap.
From the airport, he went straight to his parents’ house to rest. When he woke up in his childhood bedroom, he looked around at the walls. There were posters for “The Sixth Sense,” “The Village,” and “Signs.”
As teenagers, Woods and Beck watched each of their favorite horror films together at what is now Rave Cinemas 53 on 53rd Street.
On Saturday, the pair walked into the same movie theater and introduced “A Quiet Place,” to an audience filled with family members, former teachers and friends that feel like family.
“Every movie that influenced this movie you’re about to see we saw right here,” Woods said to the sold-out crowd. "It's honestly a dream come true."
Beck and Woods, both 33, originally got the idea for “A Quiet Place,” which follows a family trying to survive in a world where creatures hunt by sound, while attending the University of Iowa.
It’s one of many “high-concept” ideas that Beck and Woods have come up with together. They’ve been making movies together in some form since they became friends at age 11 after sitting at the same lunch table at Bettendorf Middle School.
They sold their script for “A Quiet Place” to Paramount Pictures in 2016 and shortly after, John Krasinski, known for starring in “The Office,” signed on to direct and star in the thriller. It also stars his wife, Emily Blunt.
“As much as this is a horror film, it’s also a film about family,” Beck said. “And to see with it a hometown audience, with people that have supported us from the beginning, it’s such an exciting experience.”
Also exciting? How positively the film has been received since it premiered at SXSW in Austin, Texas, as well as over its official opening weekend.
“We had no idea how the audience would receive the movie. We didn’t know if it would play well,” Woods said in an interview prior to the screening. “Our expectations for the film have been completely blown away. The movie plays really well and the reviews have been really kind, like over-the-top.”
“What’s fun to see is it’s not just performing well here in the United States, but it’s performing really well internationally,” Beck added.
What mattered more to these filmmakers, who co-own a production company called Bluebox Films, was how "A Quiet Place" performed inside screen No. 10 on Saturday.
“This is what we’ve been looking forward to since this film got put into production,” Beck said. “For us, this was the best place imaginable to start making movies when we were kids. To come back to that community that supported us is the highlight of all of this.”
“We absolutely believe this movie is the Quad-Cities’ movie, too,” Woods added. “It belongs to them.”
After the credits rolled, with extra applause when the screenwriters’ names appeared, KWQC anchor Gary Metivier hosted a Q&A session. Several questions and “Congratulations” were voiced by former classmates at Bettendorf High School as well as current high school students aspiring to get into the film-making industry.
Woods and Beck thanked many in the crowd for acting in and working on their earlier movies, some of which had premiered at North Scott High School and the Putnam Museum.
“I don’t know if we knew at that point we were going to be able to do this for a career,” Beck said. “Growing up in Iowa, it’s like we’re 1,600 miles away from Hollywood and you think that’s where all the magic happens. What we learned growing up here though is that you can make the magic happen in your own backyard and create your own opportunities.”
Also in the audience were two very proud mothers.
Before the screening, Lynn Woods and Linda Beck took turns hugging friends and taking photos of people in front of a poster for “A Quiet Place” which read, “If they hear you, they will hunt you.”
“We’ve been watching them be creative for years,” Lynn Woods said, which sparked a memory from Scott Beck’s mother, Linda: “Back when they were playing with their action figures and making a set out of space ships on strings.”
These mothers have seen – and early on, helped make – all of their sons’ movies. This one was, of course, on a bit of a grander scale.
On a few occasions, Lynn Woods and Linda Beck tearfully searched for the words to describe what it was like to be one of millions to buy a ticket to see their kids’ latest film.
“We’re just excited,” Beck said. “You see all the hard work they’ve put into it and how much wonderful support they’ve had.”
Then, they found the same words together: “It’s just a dream.”
“It’s beyond what we could have ever imagined for our kids,” Lynn Woods said.
“To us,” Beck said, “They’ll always be kids.”