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Movies in the Park, the free series of film screenings under the stars on a giant inflatable screen in local parks – all part of a  collaboration from Mill Valley Recreation, the Mill Valley Chamber and the California Film Institute – returns for its sixth season with a quartet of blockbuster films.

The series kicks off July 12 in Old Mill Park with Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze’s 2009 adaptation of the classic 1963 children’s book by Maurice Sendak. Written by Jonze and Dave Eggers, the film combines live-action, costumed performers and CGI, all centered around a lonely boy named Max who sails away to an island inhabited by the majestic and fierce Wild Things creatures, who declare Max their king. Max soon finds that being king is not easy and confesses that he’s “just a boy, pretending to be a wolf, pretending to be a king,” and he eventually sails home to his mother.

On August 9, the series returns with one of the most heralded films of 2018, as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse screens in Old Mill Park. The film tells the story of Miles Morales, who struggles to live up to the expectations of his police officer father and is sent to a boarding school. He sneaks out to visit his uncle and is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like abilities. From there, Morales crosses paths with five counterparts from another dimensions to stop a threat for all realities.

On Sept. 13 in a special screening at Friends Field outside the Mill Valley Community Center, the 2018 hit Ralph Breaks the Internet hits the screen, following Wreck-It-Ralph characters Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, as they discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure on the World Wide Web as they risk it all to must risk it all to find a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, “Sugar Rush.” 

And to close out the series on Oct. 13 as part of CFI’s 42nd Mill Valley Film Festival, the Halloween classic Coraline takes over Old Mill Park. The 2009 stop-motion animated film is based on Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel of the same name and tells the story of a girl named Coraline (Dakota Fanning), who moves into a new home and discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate world that closely mirrors her own but, in many ways, is better. She rejoices in her discovery, until Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) and the rest of her parallel family try to keep her there forever. 

The Movies in the Park series kicked off in 2014 and has gotten bigger and better every year since. In 2018, the Mill Valley Chamber organized a successful fundraising campaign to raise enough money to purchase all of the equipment required to produce the series, propelled by a $5,000 grant from the Outdoor Art Club.

For the 2019 edition, Ralph Breaks the Internet screens on Friends Field outside the Mill Valley Community Center, while the remaining screenings are set in the redwood grove adjacent to the playground in Old Mill Park at the corner of Throckmorton Avenue and Cascade Drive. Seating is general admission, and attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket and/or low beach chair. The main feature begins at sunset.

“Watching the Movies in the Park series blossom into such a popular, cherished community event has been fantastic,” says City of Mill Valley Arts and Recreation Director Jenny Rogers. “Our collaboration on this series with the Mill Valley Chamber and the California Film Institute has been incredible – the City simply could not do it without the generous support of our awesome partners.”

Here are the screening dates and trailers for each film:

7/12: Where the Wild Things Are, Old Mill Park

8/9: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Old Mill Park

9/13: Ralph Breaks the Internet, Friends Field

10/11: Coraline, Old Mill Park

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