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Southern Park offers free outdoor features

Southern Park Mall will turn its north-end parking lot into a drive-in movie theater this weekend for Free Cinema Under the Stars.

Movies are planned Thursday through Sunday at dusk at the JCPenney parking lot as part of a partnership between Washington Prime Group, the mall’s owner / operator, and The Arts District, which used contemporary technology and its team of artists and engineers to transform outdoor locations into social distancing-safe cinemas.

The movie lineup includes:

• Thursday — “Sonic the Hedgehog,” a 2020 film that mixes live-action and computer-generated animation that is based on the popular video game of the same name.

• Friday — “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the 1981 action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford and Karen Allen.

• Saturday — “The Lego Batman Movie,” a 2017 animated movie featuring characters from the DC Comics universe rendered as building blocks.

• Sunday — “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” a 1986 John Hughes comedy starring Matthew Broderick.

Christina Cleary, marketing coordinator for the mall, said, “We picked the movies, what we thought the community would like, with two different audiences in mind, the older crowd and children.”

When guests arrive, vehicles will be directed to a spot safely spaced from other visitors, and they will be able to tune their radio to a designated station for audio streaming from their own cars.

Also, staffers will ensure community members stay inside or within arms-length of their cars.

Admission is free, but tickets are available online at www.eventbrite.com under Free Cinema Under the Stars. Monetary donations will be accepted at the gate for the Salvation Army.

Cleary said there are tickets for 154 cars each night. No one will be admitted after 9:15 p.m. Those without advance tickets will be able to see the movie, but will not be able to park in the spaces reserved for the event.

For now this is a one-weekend experiment. “Of course, if it goes well and we get a good response, we’d love to do it again,” Cleary said.

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