Summertime has arrived in Los Angeles, sending Angelenos to movie theaters in droves. For those tired of traditional indoor theater experiences and looking for new means to watch movies, three local outdoor cinemas are rigging up their screens, sound checking their stages and firing up their kitchens for an evening of under-the-stars entertainment.
Saturdays: Cemetery opens at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m.
Located inside Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Cinespia’s location sets it apart from other outdoor cinemas in Los Angeles. Moviegoers arrive just before sunset and listen to live DJs as they set up their blankets and picnics on the Fairbanks Lawn, just a couple of feet away from the grave sites of Hollywood legends such as Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny. According to John Wyatt, founder and director of Cinespia, moviegoers are also in the presence of living Hollywood stars.
“There’s a whole spectrum of Los Angeles,” Wyatt said. “There are students, there are famous people and everyone is on the same plane. … Their lives outside go away and they just get to enjoy it together without all of the titles.”
Showcasing classic films from eras ranging from the ’40s to ’90s, Cinespia is a feasible option for the moviegoer with a wide range of film tastes.
Devil’s Night Drive In
Admission: $10 pre-sale, $12 walk-in
Saturdays: Gates open at 7:30 p.m., movie starts at 9 p.m.
Channeling the nostalgic feel of the popular drive-in theaters of the ’50s and ’60s, Devil’s Night Drive In is located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and is the only drive-in movie theater in the county. After a live DJ set, audiences can listen to the movie in their cars via FM radio transmission or view the film on an adjacent artificial lawn with a nearby snack bar. Carhops on roller skates are also on standby, ready to serve patrons who gain their attention with the flashing of their headlights.
According to owner Morgan Night, viewing a film from a car offers a few benefits.
“You can make out ““ that’s number one,” Night said.
Night also explained that the privacy of your own vehicle provides comfort from being surrounded by personal possessions and that moviegoers also have the opportunity to charge their iPhones.
Devil’s Night Drive In plays cult classics, films that fared poorly in theaters the first time but found life on cable or video, such as “Donnie Darko.”
Outdoor Cinema Food Fest
Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under
Saturdays: Gates open at 5:30 p.m., band plays at 6:30 p.m. and movie starts at 8:30 p.m.
For moviegoers seeking to experience an outdoor movie more akin to a festival, the Outdoor Cinema Food Fest is a good option. Entering its second year, Outdoor Cinema Food Fest has multiple locations throughout Los Angeles, spanning from historical Exposition Park to the Port of Los Angeles. Pre-film entertainment includes live music from Los Angeles musicians and access to a selection of some of the 90 different food trucks participating in the festival.
“It’s not like you’re at the movie theater and you have to pick up popcorn and maybe a hot dog that’s been on a roller for hour,” said Heather Hope-Allison, one of the founders and producers of Outdoor Cinema Food Fest. “You can go and get sushi.”
Outdoor Cinema Food Fest shows a variety of films including psychological thrillers such as “The Matrix” and musical comedies such as “Mamma Mia,” all on the largest outdoor movie screen on the West Coast.