Oscar would like to ask you out on a date.
While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may seem like a highly restrictive group – and it is, if you want to win one of those golden statuettes – the organization is expanding its outreach to regular moviegoers by announcing a summer-long series of outdoor movies.
“Oscars Outdoors” will showcase films on Fridays and Saturdays on a 40-by-20 foot screen in a park the organization built in the heart of Hollywood specifically for the sake of showing movies under the stars. The public is welcome, and the Academy is especially hopeful tourists will take advantage of it.
“The idea is to tie this in to the world, to let people know they can come here and see movies,” said Academy president Tom Sherak (pictured). “I’m telling you – come. Come bring your blankets, come bring your beach chairs, and come just enjoy two hours of getting away from those rigors of life. Those nights here are beautiful in the summertime.”
The Academy spent $2 million building the park and the projection setup, Sherak said, and purchased the land for about $50 million several years ago with hopes of building a massive movie museum. With those plans now moving forward in a different location, they decided to make use of the land rather than let it lie fallow.
“The world knows all about the Oscars, but today we’re going to talk a little about the other 364 days of the year,” said Randy Haberkamp, managing director of programming, education and preservation for the Academy. “For a movie theater, of course, this is literally outside the box.”
He said the schedule was designed so that Fridays were more of a grown-up night and Saturdays were more for families.
An invitation-only presentation of Field of Dreams will kick things off May 19. After that, the gates swing up for the hoi polloi.
Here’s their summer line-up:
Friday, June 15: Casablanca
Saturday, June 16: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Friday, June 22: Raising Arizona
Saturday, June 23: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Friday, June 29: A Star is Born (1937)
Saturday, June 30: The Goonies
Friday, July 6: Shane
Saturday, July 7: The Nutty Professor (1996)
Friday, July 13: TBD
Saturday, July 14: The Princess Bride
Friday, July 20: Pillow Talk
Saturday, July 21: The Karate Kid (1984)
Friday, July 27: Dreamgirls
Saturday, July 28: The Dark Crystal
Friday, Aug. 3: North By Northwest
Saturday, Aug.4: Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Friday, Aug. 10: Young Frankenstein
Saturday, Aug. 11: Back to the Future
Friday, Aug. 17: Audience Choice (vote on www.oscars.org/outdoors)
Saturday, Aug. 18: The Wizard of Oz (sing-along)
About 500 people will fit in the park, and (Tickets are $5, kids under 10 are free, and students and Academy members get in for $3.) The Location is 1341 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA.
Movies will begin just after sundown, for obvious reasons. Los Angeles food trucks will serve as a kind of rolling concession stand at the venue, parking near the grassy theater to feed the crowd, and some screenings may have special appearances by the stars from the movie, though those haven’t been announced yet.
Haberkamp also revealed some of the Academy’s other public events for 2012 – indoor ones, separate from the outdoor program. These include a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Universal Pictures that will feature screenings of their classic horror films, a presentation of “the science of superheroes,” and a six-week screening series called “The Last 70mm Film Festival,” which will show titles such as Lawrence of Arabia in their original, epic-sized format. He also said the Academy was increasing its film preservation efforts through its Film-to-Film program, creating new archival prints from movies with at-risk masters.
For more details, visit the Academy’s events page.