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Summer Films at Northwestern

Free Wednesday night films to be screened outdoors/or indoors, if it rains

  • Film series begins at 8 p.m. July 1 with 1960s music, bubbles, hula-hoops and beach balls
  • Special events precede several of the weekly July evening film screenings
  • Moviegoers are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, blankets, food, beverages, etc. 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A musical comedy that invites audience members to sing-along, an amusing science fiction adventure and an award-winning animated feature are among the five family films that will be screened outdoors this July at Northwestern University. 

Free and open to the general public and sponsored by Northwestern’s Norris University Center and Summer Session, each film in the Summer Cinema series will be screened at dusk (around 9 p.m.) on the East Lawn of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive.

If it rains, the scheduled film will be screened indoors in Norris Center’s 360-seat McCormick Auditorium, on the first floor.

In addition, all five films in the Wednesday night July film series will be preceded by special events ranging from free popcorn or frozen treats to retro music or creative balloon artistry.

Moviegoers are encouraged bring their lawn chairs, blankets, food, beverages and an environmentally friendly insect repellant. (Note: alcoholic beverages are prohibited.) Free parking is available after 4 p.m. in the two-level lakeside lakefront lot south of Norris.

For more information on Summer Cinema, visit or call 847-491-8284.

For information related to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings shown below, visit

July 1 -- “Hairspray” sing-along version (Adam Shankman, 2007, United States, video, 117 minutes). The musical comedy follows teenager Tracy Turnblad who teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show. The weekly July film series kicks off at 8 p.m. with 1960s music, bubbles, hula-hoops and beach balls, plus free popsicles, while quantities last. MPAA Rating: PG 

July 8 -- “Back to the Future Part II” (Robert Zemeckis, 1989, United States, 108 minutes, video). After visiting the year 2015, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985…without interfering with his first trip. The fantasy/fiction film also stars Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown and Lea Thompson as Lorraine. The event kicks off at 8 p.m. with 1980s music on the lawn, free glow sticks and free tie-dye (bring your own white T-shirt). MPAA Rating: PG 

• July 15 -- “Big Hero 6” (Don Hall and Chris Williams, 2014, United States, video, 102 minutes). A special bond develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes. The science fiction/action film received the 2015 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Free ice cream bars, purple cotton candy and more will be available, while supplies last. The event is co-sponsored by the Northwestern University Alumni Association. MPAA Rating: PG.

July 22 -- “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (Robert Zemeckis, 1988, United States, video, 104 minutes). A comic strip hating detective is a cartoon rabbit’s only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder. The animated crime comedy stars Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd and Joanna Cassidy. A balloon artist will be on Northwestern’s East Lawn from 7:30 to 9 p.m. MPAA Rating: PG.

• July 29 --     “Ernest and Celestine” (Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner, 2012, France, video, 80 minutes). This 2012 Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a penniless bear named Ernest and Celestine, an orphaned mouse who prefers drawing to dentistry. Originally made in French, this English-language voice cast features Forest Whitaker as the bear; Mackenzie Foy as the mouse; William H. Macy as the Rat Dentist; and two-time Emmy Award-winning actress and Northwestern School of Communication alumna Megan Mullally as the tooth seller Lucienne. Free finger painting will be available on the East Lawn from 8 to 9 p.m. MPAA Rating: PG.

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