In most cases, the formula is the same: Moviegoers pack a picnic and a blanket or camping chair (preferably a very low one) and prepare to be entertained. But a few film series, both old and new, offer something more.
The DC Drive-In
Where: Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE (Metro: NoMa-Gallaudet).
When: Fridays, through Aug. 2.
What to see: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (July 12), “The Distinguished Gentleman” (July 19), “The American President” (July 26), “No Way Out” (Aug. 2).
Why go: For its first year in the summer movie series business, Union Market is getting attention for its drive-in theme, complete with car hops on rollerskates. You don’t need a car to enjoy the movies, however. There also will be lawn seating where walkers and cyclists can enjoy the films, which will be projected on the facade of the market. As a bonus, there will be adult beverages for sale at Suburbia, the Airstream trailer-turned-bar.
Logistics: Things kick off at 7 p.m. with music and games before the gates open for cars at 8. While some parking spots have been reserved in advance, additional spaces will be available on a first-come basis. Simply line up southbound on Sixth Street and wait for the gates to open. The movie begins at 9 p.m., and there will be speakers for those sitting on the lawn. Viewers in cars can tune their radios to 88.1 FM.
More information: www.unionmarket dc.com/events/dc-drive-in.
Screen on the Green
Where: On the Mall between Seventh and 12th streets (Metro: Smithsonian).
When: Mondays, July 22-Aug. 12.
What to see: “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” (July 22), “Norma Rae” (July 29), “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (Aug. 5), “Tootsie” (Aug. 12).
Why go: In its 15th year, Screen on the Green is one of the longest-running outdoor movie festivals in the area, and certainly the most well-attended. The series, which is presented in collaboration with HBO and Comcast, is sort of a rite of passage, and it’s easy to see why. How often can you watch E.T. and Elliott take flight while sitting in the shadow of the Capitol dome? Many Washingtonians head to the Mall for the event at least once, although the epic crowds could forestall repeat visits.
Logistics: Movies start about 8 p.m., although attendees with blankets start covering the patchy grass on the Mall closer to 6. Alcoholic beverages and tall chairs are prohibited.