When you go out to see a movie, it's not always all about the film. Sometimes it's about where you are — like on your floatie, toes in the water with Jaws on the big screen. Or whom you're with — plopped on a blanket with the whole brood for Megamind, or snuggled up with your sweetie for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof under the stars. Tampa Bay has tons of film series, especially during the summer. All are free or cheap. Here we've rounded up some popular ones for land, sea and air-conditioning.
Kelly Smith, Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Anne Glover, Times staff writers
FLICK N' FLOAT
For six weeks starting June 24, every Friday is Flick n' Float night at Largo's Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool. Just float around in the pool while a movie plays on a giant inflatable screen. They will also give out free hot dogs and have movie-themed games, contests and crafts before the film starts rolling about 9 p.m.
The scene: This is a giant Olympic-sized pool, but it hasn't had the bells and waterslide whistles some public pools have these days — until now. This year the city has added a giant inflatable 115-foot-long slide, set up on the turf north of the pool area, like the ones you see on Clearwater Beach or behind the TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach. Besides the free hot dogs, concessions are for sale. No coolers.
What's playing: The first movie on June 24 is The Water Horse, the fantasy drama about a little boy who nurtures the Loch Ness Monster, with a scavenger hunt and an adventure theme. Coming up, if you dare to get in the water, is Jaws (July 1), and then Despicable Me (July 8). See LargoPools.com and click on Special Events under Southwest Pool for the complete schedule.
Cost: The movie is $5, $4 residents. The slide is extra, $5 per person for unlimited use.
Where: Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool, 13120 Vonn Road, Largo.
Two Fridays a month, starting June 10, the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center pool opens for Dive-In Movies. Bring your noodles, floats and chairs to watch a movie on a giant inflatable screen.
The scene: This is a fun facility, with a six-lane Junior Olympic swimming pool and an attached children's play area with a mushroom-shaped waterfall and colorful dumping cones. There are also two large tubular slides. No coolers allowed.
What's playing: Disney's animated film Finding Nemo is up first on June 10, followed by Toy Story (June 17) and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (July 8). See spbrec.com/special-events for a complete list.
Cost: $3 per person. Candy, popcorn, drinks and glow jewelry are sold poolside.
Where: St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach. (727) 363-9245.
SUNSET CINEMA AT PIER 60
Step away from the festive scene at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach and pull up a blanket for free movies every Friday and Saturday night on the beach.
The scene: The Key West-style nightly gathering of artists, crafters, street performers (fire eaters!) and live music runs roughly two hours before and after sunset. Then head to the beach and bring a blanket or low sitting chair and watch a movie on the jumbo screen. Shows start around dusk.
What's playing: This Friday is Shark Tale, and Saturday is the PG-13 Green Hornet, followed by The Water Horse (June 10) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (June 11). For a complete schedule, see sunsetsatpier60.com.
Cost: Free. You can bring a cooler, but no alcohol. Popcorn and soft drinks will be sold.
Where: 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach.
MOVIES IN THE PARK (LAND O'LAKES)
The family-friendly series runs on Saturdays year-round outside at the Land O'Lakes Community Center.
The scene: A casual crowd of 300 or so plunks down blankets and chairs — some even show up in golf carts — to watch the 40-foot inflatable screen set up at the end of the soccer field. The movies begin at sundown, but families arrive early to take advantage of the playground and open fields in the park.
What's playing: Up next is Megamind on Saturday, followed by Goonies (June 11), Happy Feet (June 18) and Jurassic Park (June 25)
Concessions: Popcorn and cotton candy are sold for a bargain $1 each. Coolers are allowed, but no alcohol.
Pets allowed? Yes
Tip: You will need bug spray. Also, if you want to suggest a movie, do so at acmeoutdoormovies.com.
Where: 5401 Land O'Lakes Blvd., Land O'Lakes. (813) 333-2288.
FREEFALL OUTDOOR FILM FESTIVAL
This series is put on by freeFall Theatre on the grounds of its new complex as a way to complement theater works. It's the third Wednesday of the month through July, though it's possible it could be extended.
The scene: The films start at sundown, but the party starts at 7 p.m. with a live DJ. Hot dogs and drinks are offered for sale, but the real fun is packing your own elaborate picnic basket. The movie screen is about 9 feet by 15 feet.
What's playing: The Apartment (June 15) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (July 20).
Cost: $7 donation is requested to support the theater. 12 and under are free.
Where: 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 498-5205.
GASPARILLA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: GLOBAL LENS SERIES
This once-a-month Friday series at the Tampa Museum of Art brings some of the best independent foreign films to the bay area.
The scene: The movies start at 7 p.m., but don't forget to come early to wander the museum, which is free from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays as part of the Art on the House program.
What's playing: Up next on June 10 is Soul of Sand, filmed in India in 2010. A watchman at an abandoned mine falls into a bizarre triangle after a wealthy landlord's daughter and her lower-caste lover seek refuge from a killer. On July 8 is Belvedere, and on Aug. 12 is The Tenants (Brazil, 2009).
Cost: $8, $5 students/seniors/Museum of Art members, GIFF members free.
Where: 120 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 514-9962.
GREAT BOOK, GREAT MOVIE
In this summer series at the Gulf Beaches Library in Madeira Beach, you can check out movies based on good books. It runs 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays from June 22 through July 27.
The scene: The films are shown on a large TV in a cozy space.
Concessions: Popcorn and drinks provided.
What's playing: The Da Vinci Code (June 22), Snow Falling on Cedars (June 29), Princess Diaries (July 6), Circle of Friends (July 13), No Country for Old Men (July 20) and Fried Green Tomatoes (July 27).
Tip: The library also has an International Film Movement series at 4 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month. Next up is How I Ended This Summer, a thriller set in the Arctic Circle, on Tuesday. There's also a "World of Humor" lighthearted series at 4 p.m. the last Tuesday of the month. Both are free.
Where: 200 Municipal Drive, Madeira Beach. (727) 391-2828.
CHECK IT OUT: MOVIES AT THE LIBRARY
The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative has an abundance of movie showings throughout its system through the beginning of August. Featured series include a classic movie and popcorn night the first Tuesday of the month, Friday afternoon at the movies, teen movie nights, family matinees on Saturdays, interactive sing-along movies (Mary Poppins!) and a special marathon of Harry Potter movies. Locations for the films vary, and you need to register by calling (813) 273-3652. To see a calendar of movie events at both Hillsborough and Pinellas libraries, go to tampabay.com/things-to-do/kids and look on the right-hand side of the page for a link.
PUSH ULTRA LOUNGE
Push Ultra Lounge, in conjunction with the Sunscreen Film Festival, is bringing back its popular summer rooftop movie series on the third Thursday of the month, starting with Snatch on June 16. Entry is a $5 donation to the Sunscreen Film Festival. Short films by film festival students are shown before the featured movie. The event begins at 8 p.m. and — the best part — they offer drink specials related to the movie. Push is at 28 Third St. S in St. Petersburg.
DALI & BEYOND FILM SERIES
This series is twice a month on Thursdays at the fabulous new Dalí Museum. Today is a real surreal treat: an all-day celebration of Destino, an animated short that was a collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí. The six-minute film — a love story with melting clocks, tuxedo-clad eyeballs without faces and ants that turn into bicycles — will be looped all day at the museum. Plus, the full-length documentary about its making, Dalí and Disney, A Date With Destino, will be shown in the lobby theater at 2 and 6 p.m.
Bonus! Today only, children 12 and under get in free. They also should come dressed as their favorite Disney character and receive a surprise.
The scene: On typical movie nights, the films start at 6 p.m. in the museum's lobby theater. While you're there, shop in the eclectic museum store or grab a serranita sandwich or gazpacho at Café Gala, both open until 8 p.m. Note that refreshments are not allowed in the theater. Museum admission is not required for any of the above.
What's playing: Here's the general formula: The first Thursday of the month features a film directly connected to Dalí or his wife, Gala (on July 7 it's A&E Biography — Salvador Dalí). But the third Thursday is way more inventive and tends to include films appropriate to the surreal world of Dalí. They can be anything from Dr. Seuss to El Dia de la Bestia, which is the film on June 16. The Spanish film with quite a cult following revolves around a feared birthdate for Satan's spawn.
Cost: The movies are free. If you do want to see the gallery, there's a price break: Admission is $10 from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday.
Where: 1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive SE and Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg. (727) 823-3767; thedali.org.
IN THE THEATERS
Reduced rate and free movies for kids are back at the theaters this summer.
• All area Muvico Theaters will offer a Free Family Film Festival at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting June 14 and running through Aug. 4.
• Only Largo Mall 8, Park Place Stadium 16 and Citrus Park 20 of the Regal Entertainment Group will hold the $1 Summer Movie Express at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday starting June 14 and running through Aug. 10.
• The AMC Theater chain has dropped the program altogether, but through independent st sponsorship, Regency 20 in Brandon will show $1 movies for children at 10 a.m. June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9.
See individual theater listings for show schedules.