15+ Summer Films to Catch Indoors or Out, Solo or with a Crowd

Take advantage of the warm summer air or cool off inside of a theater with this list of movie showings this summer. 
by Eliza Martin | photo by Smith Hardy

Is there a better time than summer to end the day with popcorn and a good movie? This classic past-time has been a favorite since the early 20th century, and is still well loved to this day. With everything from the newest blockbusters to kid friendly classics, we’ve found something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are looking for an evening with your family under the stars, a 3-dimensional movie inside one of our museums, or a night out at an old-school drive-in, this list has it all. Read on for select movies to check out this summer — plus, summer-only movie series from local venues to keep the kids occupied.

Fun films to check out this summer

The Flash: Worlds Collide at Triangle Cinemas Drive In

Triangle Cinemas Drive In in North Raleigh features showings of new releases. Superhero fans and lovers of an old school viewing experience alike will enjoy the excitement of seeing The Flash: Worlds Collide. The concession stand offers an array of classic movie snacks, such as soda, candy and popcorn. Tickets can be purchased online, and will be scanned upon arrival to the venue. The gates open an hour before the show begins, so be sure to get there early for the best parking spot and grab some popcorn before the show begins. 

June 15 & 16 | 7:30 p.m.; from $10.58; 9500 Forum Drive; triangledrive.in

Do the Right Thing at North Carolina Museum of Art’s Amphitheatre 

Head over to the North Carolina Museum of Art for their Juneteenth showing of the 1989 movie Do the Right Thing. This comedic drama film directed by and starring Spike Lee explores themes of racial violence and tensions through the story of a young Black man living in Brooklyn. Make sure to get there before the movie starts to dance along to a hip-hop DJ set by Brian Dawson or make a whole day of the event and check out the museum exhibit “Afrofuturism in Costume Design.” It features costumes created by Ruth E. Carter and see costumes designed for this movie and others, including “Black Panther” and “Selma.” Take advantage of the museum’s picnic boxes available for preorder for a meal during the show, or grab some snacks and drinks from the concession stand during the event.

June 17 | 6 – 10:30 p.m.; from $10, 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Jaws at the Alamo Drafthouse

What better way to celebrate the summer season than a shark horror film? Come to the Alamo Drafthouse for an interactive showing of the 1975 horror classic Jaws as a part of their Movie Party Series which includes themed props, drinks and more. The Alamo Drafthouse serves food, beer and craft cocktails during the show, so be sure to check out the menu before the show and come ready to eat, drink and experience Steven Spielberg’s suspenseful thriller in a completely immersive way this July.

July 3 | 7 p.m.; $17.96; 2116 New Bern Avenue; drafthouse.com

The Adventures of Prince Achmed at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design

This summer, NC State University’s Gregg Museum of Art & Design is hosting a film series inspired by artifacts from the museum’s permanent collection. This month, catch a German movie from the 1920s called The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Based on a Middle Eastern folk tale about a young royal’s escapades, it’s believed to be the first animated film in the world. The visuals of the film are similar in style to the museum’s collection of Indonesian Wayang shadow puppets.

July 6 | 6 p.m.; free; 1903 Hillsborough Street; gregg.arts.ncsu.edu

Turning Red at Durham Central Park

Durham’s Rock the Park concert and movie series presents the Disney coming-of-age movie Turning Red in mid-July. Make sure to pack some chairs or a blanket for a place to sit during the show. Bring a picnic for dinner in the park, or check out the venue’s food vendors that will be at the event. This event is perfect for the whole family, so bring the kids and settle in for a fun night under the stars!

July 22 | 8:30 – 10:30 p.m.; free; 501 Foster Street; dprplaymore.org

Men in Black at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Head to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for its Museum Movie Night series, featuring Men in Black. Don’t forget to arrive before the movie starts for live music, food and science activities, and stay after the movie is finished for movie trivia complete with prizes for the winners and commentary from an expert. This movie event will be great for fans of the Men in Black movie series and for families with teenagers that love sci-fi movies.

July 28 | 5:30 – 10 p.m.; from $3; 11 W. Jones Street; naturalsciences.org

North Carolina Film Festival

Take a day trip to the eastern part of the state to attend New Bern’s North Carolina Film Festival. This festival is only one day, featuring both movies made by North Carolina filmmakers and international films from all around the globe. Come settle in at the historic Civic Theatre for twelve hours of selected films. This event will also have a livestream for those who cannot make it in person, which includes extra content such as filmmaker interviews and judge commentary. 

July 29 | 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; $20, 414 Pollock Street, New Bern; ncfilmfestival.com

Shrek at Dorothea Dix Park

Looking for a fun, outdoor movie night the whole family can enjoy? Dorothea Dix Park is hosting summer movies on the scenic Flowers Field this summer. Pack a blanket and a picnic, or stop at one of the food trucks for a quick bite. This event is family- and dog-friendly, so bring every member of the household for a fun night outside with Raleigh’s skyline behind you.

August 5 | 8 p.m.; free; Dorothea Dix Park, Flowers Field, 1030 Richardson Drive; dorotheadixpark.org

OUTSOUTH Queer Film Festival

Durham’s OUTSOUTH Queer Film festival is back for its 28th year, showing a variety of films and documentaries created by and depicting the lives of members of the LGBTG+ community. Head to Carolina Theatre in Durham for this five-day-long historic film festival.

August 10 – 13; from $12; 309 West Morgan Street, Durham; carolinatheatre.org

Everything Everywhere All at Once at NCMA

Come see the critically acclaimed film Everything Everywhere All at Once as a part of the North Carolina Museum of Art’s summer film series. This film delves into the complicated dynamics of an immigrant family across multiple dimensions in an absurdist science fiction comedy-drama that explores numerous genres and mature themes. Be sure to pack a picnic blanket or two and grab a snack from the museum concessions before settling in for a movie night under the stars. 

August 12 | 8:30 – 11:00 p.m.; $7, 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

The Color Purple at the Carolina Theatre

The Carolina Theatre hosts its Retro Epics film series, showing classics that transcend generations. Featured in this lineup is the 1985 drama The Color Purple, based on the 1982 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker. Come see a classic movie in this beautiful, historic theater.

August 27 | 2 p.m.; from $12; 309 W. Morgan Street, Durham; carolinatheatre.org

You Hurt My Feelings at the Cary Theatre 

See the newly released independent film You Hurt My Feelings at The Cary Theatre in the city’s downtown. The movie delves into the relationship ups and downs of a couple living in New York City, and explores themes of marriage, love and parenting. What better place is there to see a new film than in Cary’s historic theater? Be sure to get there early and grab concessions from The Cary Theatre’s partner coffee shop, Brew, and enjoy the show!

Various dates and times; From $2.80; 122 E. Chatham Street, Cary; thecarytheater.com

Movie series around time to check out all summer

Raleigh Road Drive In

Looking for a fun date night or night out with the family? Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre’s drive in is the perfect opportunity for a unique movie experience with your friends and family. The current showing is a double feature of the 2023 version of The Little Mermaid, starting at 8:45 p.m. followed by the new horror film The Boogeyman, which begins at 11:30. A ticket includes both movies, so arrive early and set up for both or plan on only coming for one. These two movies stop showing on June 14, so head over to the drive in before they are gone. After that, the venue will announce the next feature one to two weeks in advance. But tickets in advance online or in-person at the booth, then find a spot to park and tune your radio into the correct channel, and get ready to enjoy the show! Concessions are available as well, including classic movie snacks such as popcorn and candy as well as meal options and soft drinks.

Every night through July  | 6 p.m.; from $7; 3336 Raleigh Road, Henderson; raleighroaddrivein.com

3-D Films at Marbles

Head to downtown Raleigh with the whole family and check out Marble’s film selection! From full length feature films to educational short films covering everything from ecosystems under the sea to space exploration, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Make a whole day of it and check out all of the exhibits at the kid’s museum, or just come for a movie and check out everything else downtown Raleigh has to offer.
Various dates and times; from $5; 201 E. Hargett Street; my.marbleskidsmuseum.org

Friday Films in Pittsboro

Just a short drive outside of Raleigh in the town of Pittsboro, check out the Friday films series. On various Fridays through October, the MOSAIC shopping center and mixed-use community in the new development Chatham Park will be hosting movie nights on the lawn. The venue will be showing a variety of films, including those for a more mature audience such as the upcoming film of Top-Gun Maverick on June 16, as well as films for all ages to enjoy, such as The Lion King, which will be shown August 4. There will be a rotating list of food and beverage vendors, such as Buoy Bowls and Red Moose Brewing. Don’t forget to pack a lawn chair or two or a picnic blanket for a place to sit during the show.

Various Fridays | 8:30 p.m.; free; 457 Freedom Parkway, Pittsboro; mosaicatchathampark.com

Kids Movie Series at Marquee Cinemas

Head up towards Wake Forest with the kids for a set of family friendly movies this summer break. With free showings every Tuesday and Wednesday morning through August 9 and two movies to choose from each day, this is the perfect outing for anyone looking for a way to entertain the little ones now that they are home for the summer. With a lineup including Puss in Boots, Space Jam, Tom & Jerry and more, there is sure to be a film selection for every kid to enjoy. Grab some popcorn from concessions and enjoy the show.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays through August 9 | 9:30 a.m.; free; 10600 Common Oaks Drive; marqueecinemas.com

Kids Summer Movies at Paragon Theaters

Head over to Cary Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays this summer for kids movie specials at Paragon Theaters in Fenton. Come see movies such as Kung-Fu Panda and Madagascar in theaters, with a portion of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. This line up of kids movies is perfect for kids of all ages. After the show, grab lunch at one of Fenton’s restaurants, or a scoop of gelato from Honeysuckle Gelato right outside. 

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through August 3rd | 10 a.m.; $2; 21 Fenton Main Street, Cary; fentonnc.com

3D Oceans at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosts movies daily in its 3-D Theatre. Make sure to stop by and catch Oceans: Our Blue Planet sometime this summer to learn all about different creatures that live within our seas. This educational movie will be something for the whole family to enjoy, so make a family event out of the movie showing and exploring the museum!

Various dates and times; From $3; 11 W. Jones Street; naturalsciences.org