Summer Nights Roundup: Our Guide To Outdoor Movie Screenings In Philadelphia

Bring your friends, blankets and picnic baskets for a great time watching films under the stars all summer long in Philadelphia. (Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC)

Once again this summer, Philadelphia plays host to lots of outdoor summer movie series, many against the backdrop of the gorgeous city skyline.

From Race Street Pier on one of the city to the Schuylkill River Banks on the other, summer movie screenings under the stars are abundant for 2012.

Check out our guide to the outdoor movies that summer in Philadelphia has to offer:

The Awesome Fest Film Series at Race Street Pier: Saturdays in June. Free. Race Street Pier welcomes free weekly viewings of independent films from major festivals like Sundance and SXSW throughout the summer season on Awesome Fest’s brand new state-of-the-art, 30-foot outdoor airscreen appropriately named “The Awesome Screen.” The lineup is curated by their new program director Eric Bresler, also the founder of Cinedelphia, the city’s online film and festival guide.

Screenings Under the Stars at Penn’s Landing: Thursdays, July 5-August 30. Free. Once again this summer, the RiverStage at Penn’s Landing does double duty as an outdoor movie theater, bringing popular movies to the Delaware River on Thursday nights at dusk. First up is Mission Impossible on Thursday, July 5.

Schuylkill Banks Movie Nights: Every other Thursday at 7:45 p.m. from June 14-August 23. Free. Schuylkill Banks 2012 Movie Nights kick off June 14. Early birds get free snacks, beverages and a raffle ticket to win some fantastic prizes from Philadelphia Runner. Snacks are provided by Dranoff Properties’ Locust on the Park and Left Bank. There’s a special one-time Schuylkill Banks Movie Night at the Grays Ferry Crescent on June 21 (see below), but all others take place below the Walnut Street Bridge.

Grays Ferry Crescent Movie Night: Thursday, June 21, 8:30 p.m. Help christen the new Grays Ferry Crescent Esplanade, on the east side of the Schuylkill River by Wharton Street and Schuylkill Avenue, with an under-the-stars movie night featuring The Pursuit of Happyness with Philadelphia’s own Will Smith.

French Films Under the Stars at Bistrot La Minette: April 30 through September; Mondays and Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. and Fridays at 9:30 p.m. Free. Catch a French film (with English subtitles) in the restaurant’s courtyard. Bistrot La Minette recommends making reservations for an hour to an hour and a half before the film is scheduled to begin. But they welcome guests to come for dessert, coffee or to share a bottle of wine.

• Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s Bike-In Movies: The Bike Coalition regularly holds “bike-in” movies on the roof of the South Street Whole Foods. Whole Foods provides delicious food (e.g. artisan pizza) and the main screening is preceded by short bike films. Follow their Facebook page for date announcements. Free.

Moonlight Movies In Mt. Airy: Fridays, June 22-August 17, 8:30 p.m. Moonlight Movies In Mt. Airy, hosted by Mt. Airy USA and the Free Library of Philadelphia in partnership with the Trolley Car Diner, runs through Friday, August 17 in the park adjacent to the Lovett Library (6945 Germantown Avenue). Huge bonus: This year, viewers can also look forward to Dining Under The Stars. From 6:30-8:30 p.m. each Friday, a handful of pop-up guest food vendors will set up just outside the park site for an al fresco dinner service. Bistro tables and chairs will be on site to accommodate hungry movie-goers who want to come early and grab a bite.

“Steamy Summer Cinema Series” at the National Museum of American Jewish History: July 11, 18, 25; 6 p.m. light reception, 7 p.m. film. Join longtime film critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer Carrie Rickey for a weekly cinematic celebration that stirs up memories of summer camp, family holidays, bungalows, and a little summertime romance. Each of the planned films explore a quintessential part of the American Jewish experience: summer.

More, below.

• Guerilla Drive-In: Catch 16MM feature films shown at secret locations near West Chester. The projector is mounted on a 1977 BMW R100/7 sidecar rig. Plus, the movies are shown in appropriate locations — Repo Man in a junkyard, Caddyshack on the links, Ghostbusters in a haunted fort. Those locations are kept top secret and you’ll need to crack the code to determine each one.

Best of the ’80s Outdoor Summer Movie Series at Liberty Lands Park: Every other Thursday beginning June 28. Free. Awesome Fest is all over the city this year, with another, well, awesome series planned for Liberty Lands Park in addition to Race Street Pier (see above). Pack a picnic.

Welcome America: Philly at the Movies: June 25-July 2, 9 p.m. Free. One of the most exciting aspects of Wawa Welcome America’s epic week-long celebration of July 4th in Philadelphia is the annual Philly at the Movies outdoor screening series returning once again this summer. First up is The Great Gatsby in Rittenhouse Square on Monday, June 25, followed by Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Tuesday, June 26. Following tradition, Rocky will be shown on the Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps on July 2.

Gorgas Park Movie Night: July 31, 8:15 p.m. Free. Hollywood comes to Gorgas Park! Refreshments will be available, proceeds from which benefit Friends of Gorgas Park. Gorgas Park is located at Ridge Avenue and Hermitage Street in Roxborough.

International House: Wednesday, August 8 at 8 p.m., Wednesday, August 22 at 8 p.m. Free. International House in West Philly is hosting two free outdoor movie screenings in the courtyard: Silent Running on August 8 and Dark Star on August 22.


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