Free Flicks Moving in for Summer
Grab your kids, blankets, lawn chairs and picnic ... but leave your wallet behind. Free movies in the park are back.
The series, sponsored for the fifth year by Community Financial Credit Union, is showing more movies on a giant inflatable screen on more nights than ever -- Saturday nights in Broomfield, Wednesday nights in Thornton and, new this year, Friday nights in Westminster.
Shows begin at dusk, roughly 8:45 p.m., with the park venue opening at 7 p.m. with lots of free parking. The shows go on rain or shine, though wind and poor field conditions can cancel the show, said Lisa Herman, the credit union's chief business officer.
The shows are a way for Community Financial to give back to the community even when economic times are difficult, Herman said. While many banks around the country are being hit hard by the bad economy, Community Financial has fared well and was determined to keep the movie program going.
The shows draw as many as 2,000 viewers to County Commons, Herman said.
"We would have quite the community uproar if we canceled the shows," she said. "This is a great tradition, so we made some changes to fit it in our budget."
At the same time, the credit union wanted to include newer movies so families who might have cut movies from their budgets could still see newer releases, she said. Broomfield County Commons will host four movies on consecutive Saturday nights. The flicks start July 11 with "Iron Man" starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and master engineer who builds his own super-powered iron suit. The 2008 blockbuster action picture, rated PG-13, also features Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges.
On July 18, the show is the 1971 version of "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" starring Gene Wilder, whose Willie Wonka was a bit kinder and gentler than Johnny Depp's portrayal in the remake. The film is based on the famous novel written by Roald Dahl, which was released in 1963. It's a story about greed, good fortune and the richness of a simple life set in the magical, colorful world of pure imagination where Oompa-Loompas manufacture chocolate confections.
"We considered the Johnny Depp version, but found most people liked the original better," Herman said.
Animation takes it's turn on July 25 with "Kung Fu Panda," the 2008 hit featuring the voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie about a panda working in a noodle restaurant and his dream of becoming a martial arts master.
The free film series concludes Aug. 1 with "Back to the Future," a movie that made Michael J. Fox a big-screen star in 1985. The movie that inspired three sequels also stars Christopher Lloyd and was directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis.
After allowing nonprofits to sell food and concessions for the first three years of the program, last year the credit union hired a vendor to run the concessions. Nonprofits were allowed to introduce the featured film, talk about their program and set up an information booth for interested viewers. This year, that tradition will continue with Court Appointed Special Advocates, the North Metro Children's Advocacy Center, Bal Swan Children's Center and the Broomfield Community Foundation each introducing a film.
Allowing the nonprofits to participate helps introduce residents to important programs that serve Broomfield, said Karen Smith, executive director of the Broomfield Community Foundation.
"We are always looking for ways to outreach and get our name out to people who might not be that familiar with us," Smith said.
Westminster last week was scheduled to kick off its free movies with a showing of "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," but the show was canceled because of soggy fields at Westminster City Park. The movie will be rescheduled at a later date, Herman said.
While the credit union doesn't have a Westminster branch, many of its members live in Westminster, Herman said.
"The city approached us and asked us if we wanted to sponsor their movies in the park program," she said.
Last year, Westminster hosted two movie nights and this year, with help from the credit union, the city was able to add a third show, she said.
It will show the fully restored "Wizard of Oz" on July 31 and the animated "Tale of Despereaux" on Aug. 28. Both shows will be at Westminster City Park.
Thornton's Thursday night films kick off July 15 with five consecutive Friday shows. The films are: "Horton Hears a Who," last year's vampire blockbuster "Twilight," followed by the less scary "Ghostbusters," "Hotel for Dogs" and "Shrek the Third."
All the Thornton shows are at the Thornton Multipurpose Fields at 108th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.
By Sally Bridges