America's Best Outdoor Movie Theaters
Courtesy of Film Night in San Francisco
is here, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show at America’s best outdoor movie
hush that falls over those gathered at Hollywood Forever Cemetery isn’t just a
sign of respect for the dead. On select evenings, it signals that a blockbuster
movie screening is beginning.
The cemetery movie series is an unexpected-yet-perfect way to pay tribute to legends like Rudolph Valentino and John Huston. “You’re
literally a few feet from someone who has worked on these movies,” says
Cinespia series cofounder John Wyatt.
as drive-ins have declined, a new breed of outdoor movie theaters has been
expanding across the U.S., cropping up in cemeteries, parks, even on rooftops.
It’s become a modern summer ritual to head to an open-air theater and stake out
a prime viewing spot before sunset—whether for a date night or girls’ night.
Often the appeal is less about the movie itself than about the chance to get
together and enjoy a beautiful setting on a balmy evening.
huge majority of the audience is coming for the experience,” says Ethan Lercher
of the Bryant Park Corporation, which runs the free HBO Bryant Park film
festival in New York City. “The whole idea is that you talk to your neighbors.”
serious movie buffs, an outdoor theater provides the rare opportunity to watch
a classic on a big screen. Unlike cookie-cutter multiplexes, these theaters
have a nostalgic allure that recalls the 1960s, when America’s love affair with
the movies was still a budding romance. “These outdoor screenings are
reminiscent of the drive-ins that baby boomers grew up with,” explains Tom
Boss, who cofounded the Bay Area’s Film Night. In Minneapolis, the Summer Music
& Movies program travels back even further to the earliest days of the silver
screen, presenting silent films with a live musical accompaniment.
outdoor movie screenings aren’t just about old-time Hollywood. They can be
forward-looking and bring fresh life to city neighborhoods. The NoMa
SummerScreen festival launched in 2008 as part of a development and revitalization
initiative in D.C., complete with trendy barbecue and gelato trucks. Each
season follows a theme, and 2011 will represents trains through films ranging
from Some Like It Hot to Slumdog Millionaire.
just wouldn’t be summer without the thrills of a Hollywood hit combined with
the pleasure of soaking up the outdoors at one of these alfresco movie