It's been a big year for change at The Belcourt.
Nashville's premier repertory house recently installed two 4K digital projectors to keep up with the demand of digital output, and now one of the theater's longtime favorites is getting a facelift. The Belcourt recently made the decision to expand Midnight Movies to a weekly basis.
Midnight Movies has long been an event where forgotten cult extravaganzas, nostalgic pieces of dumpster scum and beloved classics can get their moment to shine in front of a large crowd of movie fans, and having a new installment ready every week marks another milestone for the theater.
The Belcourt's Jason Shawhan, a Scene regular and one of the folks in charge of putting on the series, said the move has been in the works now for quite some time. According to Shawhan, staffing's an issue when it comes to expanding a service, as is programming films that will attract a crowd.
"We wanted to be very cautious about it, because of all the separate subprograms at the theater, it's the one with the most distinct identity," Shawhan told the Scene. "We didn't want to rush into anything. We wanted to build the program enough to the point where there were people who would come see a midnight movie regardless of what it was. They just knew that it was the kind of entertainment value that you can't get anywhere else in the city."
Shawhan said the theater felt that the Summer Sequels series would be the best way to christen the increase, with six noteworthy follow-ups scheduled to screen over the next month and a half.
James Cameron's bombastic Terminator 2: Judgment Day is first up to bat on July 5 and 6, with the cowabunga-clad Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze following on July 12 and 13. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey skates onto the screen July 19 and 20, Gremlins 2: The New Batch cooks up screenings on July 26 and 27 and Back to the Future Part II travels in time to screen on Aug. 2 and 3. Another Cameron sequel, Aliens, closes things out on Aug. 9 and 10.
All the slated films have had their predecessors screen at midnight in The Belcourt's past, except for Aliens, whose first installment screened as part of the theater's Saturday morning series Weekend Classics. Even with the new projectors, Shawhan said that the Midnight Movies series will continue to primarily screen in the 35mm format.
To Shawhan, the expansion of Midnight Movies further emphasizes a few of the Belcourt's main goals: to create film buffs and give all film lovers a fun, unique night at the movies.
"With the Midnight Movies," Shawhan said, with an air of sentiment befitting a civil servant, "I really do feel like it's an amazing form of outreach for us."
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