More than 300 people turned up with blankets and picnic baskets to watch Ghost, the ninth film in the Oscars Outdoors summer screening series, Friday night.
This isn't your typical night at the movies.
Launched by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June, the screenings are a unique Hollywood experience, allowing audience members to watch a classic film under the stars, in the area that was made famous for creating such classics.
Before the show, audience members were treated to antique commercials and classic cartoons. This screening featured a Popeye the Sailor short with favorites Olive Oyl and Harold Hamgravy.
Incorporating the new with the old, rather than have popcorn, food trucks, a new Hollywood staple, were onhand at the event for hungry viewers interested in grabbing a bite before the show.
Also, because this is an event produced by the academy, as the audience waited for it to get dark enough to screen the film, they had the opportunity to hear from some of the cast and crew from the actual film, invited to the screenings to speak about their experiences on-set.
“It was a long, arduous task to cast Ghost,” Jenkins said. “We saw dozens and dozens of women for Whoopi’s part. Patrick was also not the obvious choice."
Swayze initially wasn't considered for the part because it was thought that he couldn't give off a New York businessman vibe, Jenkins said. But Swayze wanted the part and lobbied for it.
“He said, ‘I will come in and read for the part and convince everybody,’” Jenkins said. “One of my dearest memories is when Patrick and I sat on the couch and read that scene at the very end of the script and he said, ‘I love you,’ and I said, ‘Ditto,’ and Jerry [Zucker, the director] jumped up and said, ‘You have the part.’”
Steven-Charles Jaffe, the film's executive producer, drove all the way up from Comic-Con in San Diego, to attend the screening.
“Ghost was a unique blend of comedy and drama,” Jaffe said when he took the stage. “These days, execs want comedy or drama, but I think one of the key elements that make this such an interesting and heart-connecting film is its ability to be both.”
Rebekah Parr, who used to work for the Academy, said she previously attended the screening of Goonies and enjoyed it so much she wanted to come back to see another.
“I love the environment that the night created. The food trucks and the movie, and friends, blankets under the stars — it’s great,” Parr said.
Autumn Reser didn't know what to expect. She brought her family and friends with her to watch the film after hearing about the event from a friend.
“I used to live in the neighborhood, but I haven’t lived here for a couple of years and I didn’t know anything about it,” Reser said, “It’s beautiful, though. I’m having such a fun time.”
Randy Haberkamp, the Academy’s managing director of programming, education and preservation, said that the screenings have attracted a range of people from the community, including those who work nearby and others who walk from their homes in the surrounding area.
“We’re thrilled that there has been a great mix of people,” Haberkamp said. “Some of the films have been deliberately chosen to attract a family audience, and it’s been great to see that family dynamic discovering or sharing a classic film together.”
This is the first year of the Oscars Outdoors program, Haberkamp said. The program was launched after the property next door to the Academy archive at the Hollywood Academy Campus became open.
"We realized that the property would be a wonderful place to offer outdoor screenings that would serve as a way to reach out to the Hollywood area community," Habercamp said.
Habercamp said that the academy tried to select a range of family-friendly classics to screen throughout the summer.
“We wanted to make sure to celebrate a wide range of movies of various genres and decades, so we have comedies, westerns, musicals, love stories from as early as 1928 and as recent as 2006," Haberkamp said.
So far, Haberkamp said, the program has been a hit.
“The turnout has been wonderfully consistent," he said. "Even though we mixed older and newer films in with films that were more popular and a bit more obscure, the audience has appreciated that mixture. Some sell out faster, but in the end each film has found an appreciative audience.”
Tickets to attend the screenings are $5 for general admission and $3 for students and Academy members. Tickets can be purchased through the Academy's website. Free parking is also included with admission.