8:00am PT by Mia Galuppo
'Thelma & Louise' Set as July 4 Hollywood Forever Cemetery Screening
It's not summer in L.A. without a trip to the cemetery. "It sounds weird at first," says John Wyatt, founder of Cinespia's Hollywood Forever screening series, kicking off May 12 with The Never Ending Story, "but anybody's who's been understands."
The cemetery screenings have gained a loyal following with almost all of the movies selling out. (Last summer's screening of Selena sold out in hours.) The Beckhams, Kendall Jenner, Emma Stone and Brie Larson were among the thousands who took in a Saturday night flick in 2017.
Wyatt and creative director Alia Penner work with studios to secure films for the summer series' approximately 25 screenings. They are also always looking to surprise the audience with celebrity guests that are brought out to introduce their own films. Longtime cemetery screening patron Drew Barrymore intro-ed E.T. and Cameron Crowe stopped by for an Almost Famous screening.
One of Wyatt's personal favorite screenings stop-ins was from Paul Reubens for Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. "He was very resistant to do it and at that point he hadn't done anything in public in a long time," he remembers. "I finally talked him into it, and the moment he came out everyone went wild and I saw his face change."
Outdoor movie screenings have become a season unto themselves in Los Angeles, with screens and projectors erected on rooftops, piers and parks across the city in summertime. But, in its 17th season, Cinespia's Hollywood Forever series is the longest-running in Los Angeles. "After the past 17 years, I definitely have a formula," says Wyatt of building out the summer's schedule.
Casablanca, Alien and Raiders of the Lost Ark are among the already announced summer 2018 titles. And Cinespia has also locked in its July 4 film-- the series' buzziest complete with fireworks-- as Thelma & Louise. The female empowerment pick seems tailored — despite its lead duo's morbid end — to the Time's Up moment. No word on Susan Sarandon or Geena Davis appearance, but Penner's looking forward to celebrating "rebellious freedom with 4,000 people."
THR's LOS ANGELES SUMMER SCREENING GUIDE
ROOFTOP CINEMA CLUB
Starting its fourth season in Los Angeles, the U.K.-based Rooftop Cinema Club is debuting a new Hollywood venue at the exclusive NeueHouse, christening their new location with a June 7 screening of the geographically apropos Sunset Boulevard. The audience watches from deck chairs and uses individual, wireless headphones to block out potentially scene-ruining city noise.
VENUE: DTLA's LEVEL, Montalban Theater, NeueHouse (starting June 7)
UPCOMING SCREENINGS: May 9, Scarface (Montalban), May 9, Pretty Woman (LEVEL)
POOLSIDE CINEMA AT MR. C
Every other Tuesday in the summer Mr. C and the Cipriani brothers offer a five-star screening experience with their Poolside Cinema series. A prix fixe screening menu is available with options that range from the more traditional (popcorn and candy) to luxe (mini bottle of Moet & Chandon and Tuna Tartar).
VENUE: Mr. C Beverly Hills
UPCOMING SCREENINGS: TBD
MELROSE ROOFTOP THEATER
Running from May to November, every Sunday through Thursday, the Melrose Rooftop Theater has moved to West Hollywood's popular rooftop locale E.P. & L.P. A "Dinner and a Movie" package that includes a pre-screening three-course modern Asian meal from executive chef Louis Tikaram at L.P. is available and includes reserved rooftop seating. VIP seating is also available for $27.50 per person.
VENUE: E.P. & L.P.
UPCOMING SCREENINGS: May 9, The Big Lewbowski; May 10, The Greatest Showman
STREET FOOD CINEMA
Likely the most geographically expansive screenings series L.A. has to offer, Street Food Cinema has 14 venues from Manhattan Beach to Pasadena. Each Saturday screening in the laid-back series features an array of food trucks (Belly Bombz, Batterfish) and a variety of live music — from DJ sets to alt-rock performances — that audiences can enjoy ahead of the screenings.
VENUE: Exposition Park, Will Rogers Park, Griffith Park, etc.
UPCOMING SCREENINGS: May 12, Wonder Woman (Glendale); May 12, Selena (downtown)
A version of this story first appeared in the May 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.