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A summer of outdoor movies to beat the blockbusters

Grab a blanket and stretch out for these outdoor films.

The free Friday Night film series at Crown Center has been known to draw crowds on peaceful summer nights.

Ink

Admit it: the constant deluge of summer blockbusters gets old after awhile. Sometimes it’s just more appealing (and way cheaper) to grab a couple of lawn chairs and post up for an outdoor showing of an old favorite.

This summer’s schedule of outdoor movies runs the gamut, from a collection of old Disney movies that the whole family can enjoy to ’80s and ’90s classics to blockbusters from just last year. Plus, where else can you catch a marathon showing of all three “Lord of the Rings” films or catch a doubleheader of vintage James Bond films for just a dollar?

So grab your blanket and let Ink guide you to this summer’s best outdoor films, where you can stretch out under the stars and watch a great movie on the cheap (and more often for free). Save the theater for when it rains.

‘Back to the Future’

What: Seeing Michael J. Fox take a DeLorean back in time looks even better on a two-story screen.

When: 8 p.m., June 21

Where: 840 N.W. Blue Parkway, Lee’s Summit

Cost: Free

Info: SummitFairshopping.com, 816-607-5420

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

What: This reboot of the Spider-Man series starring Andrew Garfield as the webslinger easily blows the abysmal “Spider-Man 3” out of the water.

When: 8:30 p.m., June 21

Where: Hyde Park, 36th Street and Gillham Road

Cost: Free

Info: HydeParkKC.org

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

What: Chris Evans plays America’s most patriotic superhero in this 2011 blockbuster.

When: 8:45 p.m., June 22

Where: Mulberry Lake, 100 N. Mulberry Drive

Cost: Free

Info: BriarcliffTrails.com

‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’

What: A little-known gem of a Disney film, this 1971 musical combines live action and animation for a film set in wartime London.

When: 8:30 p.m., June 25

Where: Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee

Cost: $1

Info: theatreinthepark.org, 913-236-1237

‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

What: Nothing beats Judy Garland in the original Oz film, but this 2013 fantasy, set 20 years before the events in “The Wizard of Oz,” is at least visually stunning.

When: 8:30 p.m., June 28

Where: Hyde Park, 36th Street and Gillham Road

Cost: Free

Info: HydeParkKC.org

‘Despicable Me’

What: With the sequel to this Universal Studios computer-animated comedy set to be released the week after this showing, it’s high time you get around to watching it.

When: 8:45 p.m., June 29

Where: Mulberry Lake, 100 N. Mulberry Drive

Cost: Free

Info: BriarcliffTrails.com

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

What: If you can’t make the June 21 showing, this is your chance to make it up.

When: 8:30 p.m., June 29

Where: Paradise Park, 1021 N.E. Colbern Road in Lee’s Summit

Cost: Free

Info: CityofLS.net, 816-969-1500

‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’

What: Roger Ebert called this 1968 children’s classic “the best two-hour children’s movie you could hope for.” That should be enough to convince you that it’s worth a watch.

When: 8:30 p.m., July 9

Where: Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee

Cost: $1

Info: theatreinthepark.org, 913-236-1237

‘The Princess Bride’

What: Everyone’s favorite childhood classic needs no defense, but the fact that the showing will be free should help sweeten the deal.

When: 9 p.m., July 12

Where: Crown Center Square, 2450 Grand Blvd.

Cost: Free

Info: CrownCenter.com, 816-274-8444

‘The Little Rascals’

What: This 1994 comedy was released to terrible reviews, but they didn’t stop a generation of adults who have fond memories of Alfalfa and the He-Man ‘Womun’ Haters Club.

When: 8:45 p.m., July 13

Where: Mulberry Lake, 100 N. Mulberry Drive

Cost: Free

Info: BriarcliffTrails.com

‘Weekend at Bernie’s’

What: Epitomizing everything that was terrible and fantastic about ’80s comedy, this film about trying to pretend a dead boss is still alive is still a cultural touchstone worth watching.

When: 9 p.m., July 19

Where: Crown Center Square, 2450 Grand Blvd.

Cost: Free

Info: CrownCenter.com, 816-274-8444

‘Despicable Me’

What: The sequel will already be out, but if you missed your first shot at seeing this in June, you’ve still got a chance here.

When: 9 p.m., July 19

Where: Oak Grove Park, 7656 N. Troost Ave. in Gladstone

Cost: Free

Info: www.gladstone.mo.us, 816-437-2489

‘Jaws’

What: Steven Spielberg’s classic about a man-eating great white shark. You’re probably hearing the theme song in your head right now.

When: 8:45 p.m., July 20

Where: Mulberry Lake, 100 N. Mulberry Drive

Cost: Free

Info: BriarcliffTrails.com

‘The Lion King’

What: An unforgettable tale with equally incredible music composed by Elton John, this Disney film needs no introduction.

When: 8:30 p.m., July 23

Where: Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee

Cost: $1

Info: theatreinthepark.org, 913-236-1237

‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

What: Although it’s no “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” this Spielberg and Lucas creation will remind you of how great the Indiana Jones films were until “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” came around.

When: 9 p.m., July 26

Where: Crown Center Square, 2450 Grand Blvd.

Cost: Free

Info: CrownCenter.com, 816-274-8444

‘Wreck-It Ralph’

What: A Disney film about a hero who travels between video games in an arcade that is pretty visually sweet.

When: 8:45 p.m., July 27

Where: Mulberry Lake, 100 N. Mulberry Drive

Cost: Free

Info: BriarcliffTrails.com

‘Grease’

What: This 1978 musical has all your favorite nostalgia packed into one film, but it might make you a little sad comparing John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing to how they looked in their prime.

When: 9 p.m., Aug. 2

Where: Crown Center Square, 2450 Grand Blvd.

Cost: Free

Info: CrownCenter.com, 816-274-8444

‘City Slickers’

What: When Billy Crystal in a midlife crisis goes on a cattle drive with his friends, comedic gold ensues.

When: 8:45 p.m., Aug. 3

Where: Mulberry Lake, 100 N. Mulberry Drive

Cost: Free

Info: BriarcliffTrails.com

‘Singin’ in the Rain’

What: This 1952 musical comedy starring Gene Kelly is a cultural icon, but have you actually seen it?

When: 8:30 p.m., Aug. 6

Where: Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee

Cost: $1

Info: theatreinthepark.org, 913-236-1237

‘Iron Man’

What: Now that we’re on “Iron Man 3,” it’s time to re-watch the film that kicked off the series and won Robert Downey Jr. much acclaim.

When: 9 p.m., Aug. 9

Where: Crown Center Square, 2450 Grand Blvd.

Cost: Free

Info: CrownCenter.com, 816-274-8444

‘The Hunger Games’

What: The first adaptation of the wildly popular book series. Don’t count on finding out whether Katniss chooses Peeta or Gale just yet.

When: 8:45 p.m., Aug. 10

Where: Mulberry Lake, 100 N. Mulberry Drive

Cost: Free

Info: BriarcliffTrails.com

‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘The Lost World’

What: A doubleheader of dinosaurs on the loose at Shawnee Mission Park.

When: 8:30 p.m., Aug. 17

Where: Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee

Cost: $1

Info: theatreinthepark.org, 913-236-1237

‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy

What: One night to rule them all. This marathon showing of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films will take you through all of Middle-earth.

When: 8:30 p.m. Aug. 24

Where: Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee

Cost: $1

Info: theatreinthepark.org, 913-236-1237

‘Goldfinger’ and ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’

What: This James Bond double feature contains Sean Connery, arguably the greatest Bond, and Roger Moore in the classic 007 flicks.

When: 8:30 p.m., Aug. 31

Where: Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee

Cost: $1

Info: theatreinthepark.org, 913-236-1237

‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’

What: Chris Columbus’ adaptation of the children’s fantasy series stars Logan Lerman as a 12-year-old who finds out he’s the son of Poseidon.

When: 8:30 p.m., Aug. 10

Where: Paradise Park, 1021 N.E. Colbern Road in Lee’s Summit

Cost: Free

Info: CityofLS.net, 816-969-1500

E.T. the Extra-

Terrestrial’

What: Phone home. This Spielberg story about a boy who befriends an alien will cap off the summer of outdoor films.

When: 8:20 p.m., Sept. 13

Where: 901 N.E. Bluestem Drive

Cost: Free

Info: CityofLS.net, 816-969-1500

Compiled by Edward Hart, Ink

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