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Movies under the stars return to Cornelius

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Moviegoers set up in the parking lot alongside Cornelius 9 Cinemas to watch 'Independence Day: Resurgence' Friday, June 24.Cornelius Cinemas is adding a new feature to its movie-watching experience: The sky.

On Friday, June 24, theater owner Robert Perkins will debut Outdoor Cinema — and a 10th screen — with a showing of “Independence Day: Resurgence” on the east side of his nine-screen building at Cornelius Stadium Cinemas, 200 N. 26th Ave. in Cornelius.

Most patrons will need to bring their own lawn chairs, although several picnic tables will be available and some fixed seats may be installed later, according to Robert Perkins' son, Rob Perkins.

To make the outdoor theater work at Cornelius Cinemas, “we busted a hole in the brick wall of the building,” said Rob, and added a 10th projector.

Though audiences may not know it, the outdoor format introduces a taste of Robert Perkins’ childhood in Kentucky, where his father, Bob Perkins, opened a drive-in theater in Lexington in 1963. According to his son, Rob Perkins, “he’s always wanted to come back to the drive-in because that’s how he grew up. It was something a lot of people used to love and is now a pretty under-served experience.”

McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove and the city of Cornelius both offer free outdoor movies during the summer (see sidebar below), but those events are only occasional and feature movies that came out a while ago, while Cornelius Cinema will offer “each week’s biggest blockbuster” every night, according to Perkins’ press release.

The popularity of Flicks in the Park, the city-sponsored event at Harleman Park in Cornelius, indicates an appetite for outdoor cinema. Last summer, each movie drew roughly 250 to 300 people, said City Manager Rob Drake, although the fact that the movies were free might have helped bump up attendance.

"The Friends of the Library sell snacks and it makes for a nice evening," Drake said.

At Cornelius Cinemas, pricing will be the same as for indoor movies — general admission on a first come, first served basis. Doors will open an hour early to offer the new outdoor area for people to congregate and relax.

“We are thrilled to bring our customers a new and exciting way to view their favorite films,” said Perkins.

Because it’s a trial run, this first week Outdoor Cinema will show movies only Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. But beginning July 1, there will be one show per night, every night, to start when the sun sets, which means the start time will gradually get earlier as the summer continues and the daylight shortens.

During this short week, beginning Friday, June 24, the showings will all start at 9:15 p.m. To check timing for other weeks or to buy tickets in advance, visit www.actfivetheaters.com.

The outdoor movies will continue every night until school starts, when the schedule will shrink to Fridays through Sundays, said Rob.

Other free local movies playing around town:

Flicks in the Park

Where: Harleman Park, 10th Avenue and Heather Street in Cornelius


Aug. 5: Night at the Museum 3

Aug. 12: The Good Dinosaur

Aug. 19: Max: Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

Aug. 26: Minions

Movies on the Lawn

Where: McMenamins Grand Lodge, 3505 Pacific Ave. in Forest Grove

When: Thursdays through Sundays July through August


July 7-8: Minions

July 9-10: Raiders of the Lost Arc

July 14-15: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

July 16-17: Goonies

July 21-22: Inside Out

July 23-24: ET

July 28-29: Ant-Man

July 30-31: Lego Movie

(For August movies, check the Grand Lodge website, www.mcmenamins.com/GrandLodge)