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Berlin’s ‘Movies on Main Street’ to expand in 2016

(Aug. 6, 2015) Following the success of the inaugural Movies on Main Street program in Berlin, organizers are planning an expanded offering in 2016.
Three movies screened this year, capped by the July 15 showing of “Runaway Bride,” the 1999 film staring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere and set in the fictional town of Hale using the Atlantic Hotel and several shops in Berlin as a backdrop.
Next year the program, presented by Berlin Arts & Entertainment, hopes to show six movies.  
“We wanted to get this year behind us just a smidge before we asked the general public their opinion on what movies should be shown,” A&E Secretary Robin Tomaselli said. “Already there have been some clear interests for us to show certain movies.”
The short list includes cult classics such as “Goonies” and “The Princess Bride,” as well as the Indiana Jones and Harry Potter series.
“The first two movies were in the parks and they were awesome movies, but we went with G-rated movies and the attendance was lower,” A&E President Heather Layton said. “When you think about it, we can’t start until 8:30 because the sun has to be down, so we’re definitely going to gear it to older kids and preteens, something that’s family friendly, but your 13-year-old would want to see it also.”
Layton added that A&E could also aim for a date-night audience.
“The little ones are in bed at 8:30,” she said, adding that the group at some point would likely start soliciting other movie suggestions via Facebook.
Next year’s tentative plan is to show two movies in Henry Park, two in Stephen Decatur Park and two on Main Street.
“The concluding movie will be ’Runaway Bride,’ Tomaselli said. “We hope to make that more of a cult kind of thing. The idea is to have that be the last movie of the season and to have a street closure so that people can dress up and maybe have some street vendors so it’s more of an event.
“People come in here and still ask us if we’re the bakery in the movie,” Tomaselli added.
Tomaselli said she was happy with the reception during the program’s first season.
“Considering the fact that there was a rain date for the first movie and there was a rain date for ’Runaway Bride,’ which kind of confused people, we were very happy,” she said. “’Runaway Bride’ was originally scheduled for a Saturday night and I think that would have been crazy received. We were forced to show the makeup date on a weeknight, but there were still over 100 people there, and it was awesome because you could sit on the porch of the Atlantic Hotel and have drinks and watch the movie.”
A&E plans to hold a fundraiser for the next series of films at Burley Oak this fall, and Layton said sponsorships would be available to local businesses during next year’s screenings.
“We’re going to start fundraising this summer to help pay for movies next year, because it’s not cheap,” she said. “We also need to be better about getting the word out. By the time we got approval last go-round, everything was already on top of us. We’re definitely trying to be more proactive now to plan for next season.”
For more information, follow Berlin MD Arts & Entertainment on Facebook.