Summer is the season for spending time on the beach and going to the movies, but at Coney Island, you can do both.
For the sixth straight year, the Alliance for Coney Island and Rooftop Films are presenting the Coney Island Flicks on the Beach series. Throughout the months of July and August, attendees will be able to enjoy a diverse selection of movies and entertainment beachside each Monday free of charge.
“We are always looking for additional programming for the amusement district,” said Executive Director of the Alliance for Coney Island Johanna Zaki. “It’s been a successful program with Rooftop Films providing outdoor screening. They show a wide selection of movies throughout New York City.”
Since its inception, the demand and excitement for the tradition has grown among locals.
“People love it,” Zaki said. “At this point, people have caught on and anticipate the schedule and are on the lookout for what movies will be coming. Local residents come from Brighton and Coney.”
This year’s crop will feature seven films ranging from family flicks to dramas to popular action franchises.
“The audience in general changes as it depends on the movies shown. We mix it up a bit so everyone has something,” she went on. “We do throwbacks every year or something contemporary at the moment, kids movies in there, anniversary movies.”
The businesses in the area benefit from it too.
“It helps generate traffic, especially on a Monday,” Zaki said. “The goal and hope is that people come out, have dinner in restaurants around here, lay on the beach and catch a good movie.”
There are plenty of places to catch a movie outdoors during the warm summer months, but according to Zaki, this series is special due to its scenic views of rides like Deno’s Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone. “It’s very unique. I can’t think of any theater in the city where you can grab a blanket, lay on the beach and watch a 40 foot screen with great sound,” she said. “The experience is interesting. Coney Island is known for being bustling all the time. The beach is serene. It’s very low key.”
While people arrive early to secure a spot, pre-show entertainment is held with various sideshow performances. Local businesses also have giveaways and do trivia while people wait for the movie.
One of this season’s tribute films that will be shown is “Purple Rain” staring Prince, who died this past April.
“I think that we’re expecting a large crowd to see the movie,” Zaki said, who expects big crowds each week. “It can go anywhere from 1,000-3,000 people showing up.”
The process of picking the six to eight films is selective and ensures that there’s something for every attendee.
“We take a look at a couple of things. We do tribute movies, special anniversaries, and local films,” Zaki explained. “We keep different audiences in mind and create a comprehensive list that way.”
The fun kicks off on Monday, July 11 with “Jurassic World.” The top grossing domestic film of all-time, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will be shown on July 18. The rest of the schedule includes: “Inside Out” on July 25, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on August 1, “Rooftop Shorts” on August 8, “Purple Rain” on August 15, and the series will conclude on August 22 with “Creed.”
Each free screening is free. Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. at West 10th Street. For more information, visit www.coneyislandfunguide.com.