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A case for continued screenings of classic movies – DePaoli on DeParks

by Jeff DePaoli

As the entertainment industry slowly begins to reopen, one of the destinations we’re seeing return are movie theaters. Although movie fans are excited to get back in a theater for the communal movie-going experience (and the snacks), there is a problem since movie studios have delayed the openings of new movies.

classic movies
Screengrab via YouTube

This makes complete sense, considering it’ll take some time before most moviegoers will feel comfortable visiting once again. This means that a lot of theaters will be showing classic movies in place of new films until the new releases resume. But why do these classic screenings need to stop once the new movies return? I personally would love to regularly have a screen or two in a multiplex theater reserved for classic films from throughout the decades.

There are wonderful offerings throughout the year from Fathom Events, but those are limited by date and location. Classic films are considered classic for a reason. They’re shown over and over again on television because people still love them, but nothing can beat seeing a movie on the big screen where it was meant to be seen.

Just a week ago, I visited a dine-in movie theater that was showing “Jurassic Park.” Now, I’ve seen this movie dozens of times and know every moment of it, but it was still a thrill seeing it projected on the big screen and emotionally traveling back to the summer of 1993. I did get to see that Spielberg classic in theaters during its original release, but I wasn’t so lucky with another one of my favorite movies.

It was just a few years ago when I finally got to see “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” on the big screen. Even though I’d seen that film tons of times, there were definitely details I was noticing for the first time with such a large, projected image.

In the case of Disney and Universal’s theme parks, I think it makes even more sense for them to show their classics in the resort’s shopping district movie theaters. After experiencing your favorite movies in the parks all day, I’m sure a lot of guests would love to enjoy these films once again in the proper fashion; among a group of strangers with the smell of popcorn filling the air in a darkened room where light and shadow bounces off a large silver screen.

There have been numerous cases where theme park attractions have made me go back and watch movies I had never seen before. When I was introduced to the movies of Alfred Hitchcock at Universal Studios Florida, I went home and watched “Psycho” for the first time. After experiencing T2:3D, I found the pre-show story concept interesting enough for me to check out “The Terminator.” I went home and rented these movies because it was my only option. But if Universal CityWalk’s movie theater had been showing them, I definitely would have gone out of my way to see them while on vacation.

What about you? Would you like to see classic movies in theaters as a regular option? If so, what are some of the movies you would hope to catch on the silver screen? Would you be interested in only seeing older movies for the first time or would you want to revisit some of your favorites?


Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com.

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2 comments

Frank Coufal July 10, 2020 - 10:03 pm

Yes! I would love to have the option to see classic movies in theaters be permanent. As much as I watch classic movies at home, there’s nothing more exciting than getting a chance to see them on the big screen. Some movies I’d like to see on the big screen are:

The Wizard of Oz
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Jurassic Park
The Time Machine 1960
Sleeping Beauty
101 Dalmatians (1961)
Annie (1982)
Back To The Future Trilogy
Meet Me In St. Louis
Singin In The Rain
Peter Pan (1953)
The Jungle Book (1967)
Edward Scissorhands
West Side Story (1961)
The Shawshank Redemption
The Matrix
Good Will Hunting
Fantasia
Bambi
The Princess Bride
It’s A Wonderful Life
Star Wars Original Trilogy

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Robyn Murov July 10, 2020 - 10:41 pm

Yes, I too would love it if all movie theaters could take one of their screens and devote it to showing the classics.
You could do theme weeks or weekends such as The Brat Pack (like Sixteen Candles etc), Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Disney, movie musicals, the list is endless!
Or, you could go decade by decade, 1 week the 30s, then the 40s etc etc.
Ever since CNN came out with that docuseries of The Movies: the 1930s-2000s hosted by Tom Hanks, I thought they had an untapped gold mine just waiting to be tested.
I know this has become a world where any movie practically can be at your fingertips, but I agree, nothing compares to seeing a film on the big screen.
Another thing making a big comeback: the drive-in. With the virus still making indoor activities uncertain, I would love to see more drive-in movies. Show the classics there, you can do it any time except really cold or snow 😉

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