It's a scenario we've seen several times in the last few years. Somebody is a huge fan of a particular movie property, excited to see the next installment that's set to come out. Unfortunately, this fan is terminally ill and may not live until the official release date. Social media then picks up the call to try and make an early screening happen. It's remarkable how frequently these stories have had happy endings. Unfortunately, the most recent example has had no such result. George Root III, who wanted nothing more than to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters, has passed away before having a chance to do so.
It was only within the last couple of days that the story of George Root III broke through the noise of the internet to really get noticed. Root had stage four cancer and was a massive fan of two things, Godzilla and the Transit Drive-In in Lockport, New York. Root was friends with the theater's owner, Rick Cohen and it was Cohen who attempted to get his friend's dying wish to come true and get a screening of the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters to screen at the theater for Root.
Unfortunately, almost as soon as the request began to pick up steam, it was announced that it was already too late. George Root III died Thursday of the cancer he'd been fighting for four years.
Part of what makes this all the more heartbreaking, is that there's a pretty decent chance that if Root had lived, he would have received his wish. This is far from the first time that a terminally ill person has made a request like this and frequently, those requests have been granted. Disney has granted personal screenings of both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Endgame to under similar circumstances. Studios have been remarkably willing to accommodate these requests so there's no reason to believe this one would have been any different.
Yesterday Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Mike Dougherty retweeted a post referencing George Root's struggle, after he had passed, which means the director had been made aware of the situation. Things really might have worked out if only the timing hadn't been so tight.
Considering that we're dealing with terminally ill patients, it's actually remarkable just how often these stories have happy endings. Of course, that makes it all the sadder that this one does not.
Still, those that picked up the call for George Root III aren't done simply because he's gone. According to the Buffalo News, those that were once campaigning to get him a screening are now campaigning to get him added to the credits of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It would certainly be nice to see a dedication or "In memory of" added to the beginning or end of the film. Such a tribute would probably mean the world to the loved ones he left behind.
We'll have to wait and see if anything like that happens. Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be in theaters May 31.