Three family-friendly movie series will be offered at little or no cost this summer in Columbia County.
The first movie series, sponsored by MCG Health Children's Medical Center, starts Friday at the Columbia County Amphitheater.
The fourth annual Movies Under the Stars series will feature Kung Fu Panda on Friday, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa on June 12, Over the Hedge on June 19 and Happy Feet on June 26.
Each movie will be shown on a 30-foot screen and begin at nightfall. Gates to the venue will open at 7 p.m.
"You can take your whole family," said Denise Parrish, media relations manager at MCG. "Because it's outside and it's a friendly atmosphere, you don't have to worry about theatre etiquette, so to speak."
Guests should bring lawn chairs, blankets, picnic baskets and coolers, said Parrish, who described the event's atmosphere as "beachy." Alcohol is not permitted.
Tickets cost $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 13 and younger.
Parrish said children also will receive a gift upon entering the amphitheater.
"They'll get special surprises that they can play with while they're waiting for the movies to begin," Parrish said.
The county's second annual Family Movie Matinees also will start in June and extend into July.
The free movies will be shown at 1 p.m. on a large drop-down screen at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center inside the Columbia County Library.
"Our thinking is to give an inexpensive outlet for families during the summertime that's inside," said Community Events Manager Stacie Adkins, "I think in today's economy, you cannot get much cheaper than free."
The movie schedule consists of Penelope on June 10; Marley and Me on June 17; Kung Fu Panda on June 24; Hotel for Dogs on July 8; Horton Hears a Who on July 15; Wall-E on July 22; and a surprise family-friendly movie on July 29.
The theater seats 296 patrons, so Adkins encourages people to arrive early to guarantee a spot. Tickets will be distributed at noon. Only bottled water is allowed inside the center.
"We really are thinking it can be an outing for them," Adkins said. "They can make a day of it."
Another low-cost movie opportunity, the Summer Kid Show Series, will be offered at Evans 14 Cinemas.
Moviegoers can choose between two movies to be shown on Tuesdays and Thursdays in June and July. Movie selections change each week and will begin at 10 a.m. with doors opening at 9:15 a.m.
Tickets cost $1 per person, and a child's-size drink and popcorn can be purchased for just $1.50 each.
"They sell out pretty quickly," said assistant manager Michael Jones. "You can only get tickets the morning of, so we advise people to arrive early."
Featured movies include Paul Blart: Mall Cop and The Tale of Despereaux on June 9 and June 11; Kung Fu Panda and Alex Rider: Stormbreaker on June 16 and June 18; Igor and Open Season on June 23 and June 25; Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Nim's Island on June 30 and July 2; Coraline and Doogal on July 7 and July 9; Alvin and The Chipmunks and Pirates: Veggie Tales on July 14 and July 16; Hotel for Dogs and The Spiderwick Chronicles on July 21 and July 23; and Horton Hears a Who and Bee Movie on July 28 and July 30.
"People like it," Jones said. "It's a good thing to do for everybody and just to give back to the community."
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