The cineplexes will undoubtedly beckon repeatedly this summer, with blockbusters like X-Men: Apocalypse, out this week, and Suicide Squad, out in August. But seeing a film indoors, cooped up in a darkened chamber with hordes of sweating, texting teenagers, is hardly an optimal way to be entertained, especially given the lovely breeze and picnic-able lawns of Northeast Ohio in June, July and August. Watching a movie outside's the way to go. Drive-ins no longer have the cache, nor the presence, that they enjoyed in the soda-fountain 1950s, and while they're thoroughly enjoyable, plenty of local cities and organizations are helping to fill the void by getting the silver screen under the starry sky. Interested? Damn right you are, and we've got you covered. The best part? Without exception, attendance at these outdoor film events are free.
Start on the city's far west side -- in the bustling Stark-powered 'burbage of Westlake -- for a weekly, family-friendly outdoor movie screening. Every Thursday evening at 9 p.m. from June through August, the outdoor shopping plaza will play a film behind the GameStop store. Schedule here:
6/9: Big Hero 6
6/16: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
6/23: The Wizard of Oz
6/30: Apollo 13
7/7: Jurassic World
7/14: Breakfast Club
8/4: Inside Out
8/11: Coach Carter
8/18: Ferris Beuller's Day Off
A blend of new and old, PG and PG-13 characterizes this pretty solid line-up.
189 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake, OH 44145, Crockerpakr.com/event
Though slightly less regular, the offerings in Lakewood are by and large just as family friendly as (in fact, occasionally duplicative of) the titles at Crocker. Catch films on Friday nights in June and July at the Lakewood Park grandstand, and a film in August at Madison park. The lineup:
6/24: Curious George 3
7/15: Inside Out
7/29: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
8/12: Hotel Transylvania 2
Evidently, Lakewood is extremely into sequels this summer.
Onelakewood.com / (216) 521-7580
LOEW PARK - OLD BROOKLYN
If Crocker Park has Thursdays and Lakewood Park has Fridays, Old Brooklyn's Loew Park has dibs on Tuesdays, in its second annual "Cleveland Summer Cinema" series from June 14 - August 9. Lineup here:
6/14: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
6/28: Jurassic World
7/26: The Sandlot
8/9: Toy Story
A sterling lineup for the Old Brooklyn crowd (beating Crocker Park to the Jurassic World punch by a week). Smartest move: showing Ghostbusters three days before the all-female reboot hits theaters.
Oldbrooklyn.com, (216) 459-1000
Though the schedule and titles are yet to be determined, Wade Oval Wednesdays -- the free concert series in University Circle from June 15 - August 31 -- will have film screenings at 9 p.m. on select nights. This free evening event has become a beloved summertime staple for east siders and west siders alike. So if the salsa or the reggaeton or the Americana doesn't tucker you out, stay for a flick after the sun goes down. Make sure your picnic game is on point.
Check universitycircle.org/events for updates.
IMPETT PARK — KAMM'S CORNERS
The third Friday of June, July and August, venture to Impett for evenings of family fun. Games and prizes for the kiddies have been promised. Though the party starts at 6:30 p.m., the movies capping off the evenings off will begin at dusk (about 9 p.m.). Bring a blanket and a lawn chair!
6/17: Norm of the North
7/15: Inside Out
Given that Star Wars: The Force Awakens hauled in close to $1 billion at the domestic box office, it's no surprise that local parks are champing at the bit to host screenings in their backyards and public spaces. On August 6, PEACE Park in Cleveland Heights, will do just that, capping off a full day of Star Wars tributes. PEACE Park will also be the east side analog to Crocker Park, showing films on Thursday evenings through June and July. Schedule:
6/16: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
6/30: Hotel Transylvania 2
7/7: Classic Cartoons &
Coventry Pie Fight (Bring your own whipped cream!)
7/14: Inside Out
7/28: The Good Dinosaur
8/6: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
But for the classic cartoons, the Coventry Village lineup features more new releases than its counterparts across the region. Good Dinosaur: underrated film.
2843 Washington Ave., Cleveland Heights, OH 44118, coverntryvillage.org/events
THE GROVE - MAYFIELD VILLAGE
Further east you shall drive! On July 29, Mayfield Village will show Disney's Aladdin at 10 p.m. after the Mercury Theatre Co. performs "A Whole New World" from 7:30 - 9:30. The Grove is Mayfield Village's new amphitheater and green space and if you haven't yet been, it's an ideal venue for evening movie watching. Even if you're not up for live theater, you can swing by later to savor the lately confirmed Disney fan theory: that the peddler at the beginning of the film is also the Genie! MINDS WILL BE BLOWN! ROBIN WILLIAMS NOSTALGIA WILL BE ABUNDANT.
mayfieldvillage.com/recreation/the-grove, (440) 461-2210
Not to be outdone, Bay Village will be hosting a Family Fun Day in August, 8/13 in fact, and the city intends to cap off the festivities with an outdoor movie at dusk. Title yet to be determined. Our money's on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Check cityofbayvillage.com for updates.
A summer cinema series at Halloran Park on the city's westside (W. 117th) is also in the works, but event planners say the dates and titles have not yet been finalized. Stay tuned at westowncdc.org.