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Get your blankets and popcorn ready: Westpost in Pentagon City will be hosting free outdoor movie screenings this fall.

In less than two weeks, movie-goers can enjoy a range of films, from family-friendly flicks to action-adventures, each Wednesday from Sept. 20 through Oct. 11. Screenings will be held in the plaza at Westpost, formerly known as Pentagon Row.

Shows begin at 7:30 p.m., but attendees are advised to arrive early to secure a spot and allow time to order food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, from nearby restaurants.

Each screening will be hosted by a different restaurant, and most serve up cuisines that play off the movie, such as the sushi spot hosting the samurai action film “47 Ronin.”

Below is the scheduled movie lineup.

  • Sept. 20 —  “Clueless,” hosted by Nighthawk Brewery & Pizza
  • Sept. 27 — “Encanto,” hosted by Banditos Tacos & Tequila
  • Oct. 4 — “47 Ronin,” hosted by Kusshi Sushi
  • Oct. 11 — “Luck of The Irish,” hosted by Mattie & Eddie’s Irish Pub

Looking to enjoy “Barbie” while reliving those childhood slumber parties with your best friends? Alamo Drafthouse has you covered.

This Friday and Saturday, movie-goers can get dressed up in their pajamas and bring their pillows to the Crystal City location of the theater for late-night screenings of the blockbuster film. There will be Barbie-themed concessions, merchandise and photo ops.

“With this ‘Barbie’ movie, because we’re trying to appeal to girls and women of all ages, we really want to bring back that kind of fun and nostalgia that we have from when we were kids, having sleepovers with our best friends,” said Megan Hia, the marketing and events manager for the D.C.-area locations of Alamo Drafthouse.

Hia says the “Barbie” slumber parties will be “rowdy showings,” with relaxed talking rules that allow for guests to express their feelings about the film and chat with friends. As a bonus, there should be air conditioning.

Barbie-themed booze will also be flowing. Alamo will have a kölsch called “The Babe” on tap from local brewpub Nighthawk Brewery as well as two specialty drinks: “Dream Summer ’80” and the “Dream Summer ’59.”

For Alamo Drafthouse, the event is one way Alamo is keeping the excitement for “Barbie” alive. The film had a massive $162 million opening weekend at the box office — making it the most successful first weekend of any film this year.

Hia says attendance rates for this movie in Arlington and D.C. are already on-par with well-attended movies pre-pandemic. She observed many moviegoers come in pink outfits and pose for photos outside the theaters.

“There’s so much excitement around it and you can really, really see that,” Hia said. “To have people come in costume and dress up — and dress up in pink for the ‘Barbie’ movie — that’s all about building that experience and celebrating the movies that are coming, and that’s really what the Alamo is all about.”

Tickets for the slumber party screening of “Barbie” at the Crystal City location, at 1660 Crystal Drive, are available on the theater’s website. There are still several tickets available for Friday night at $21 and a few for Saturday at $14.

A sign posted at the entrance of Regal Ballston explains the AC outage (staff photo)

Those seeking an escape from the midsummer heat experienced the opposite this weekend in the Regal Cinema in Ballston.

The theater at Ballston Quarter mall is suffering an extended outage of its air conditioning, just as droves of moviegoers flocked to the big screen starting Thursday for the highly anticipated release of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” — dubbed “Barbenheimer” for their shared release date.

“As of Thursday aka the release of Barbenheimer madness, the air conditioning was nonfunctional at the Ballston theater,” said a Yelp reviewer. “We checked out the theater, and it felt like 85 degrees in there.”

The theater is “unbearably hot,” according to a Google review posted Sunday.

While the outage has been ongoing for several weeks, according to tipsters, the informal double feature cast a spotlight on the uncomfortable situation.

Even the New York Times mentioned the Ballston theater’s plight in a discussion about the success of “Barbie,” for which Gerwig now holds the record for the highest-grossing opening in history for a female director.

Some movie-lovers stayed despite the heat, while others took advantage of refunds and vouchers Regal offered to those who chose not to stay.

Asked for comment, the general manager of the theater referred ARLnow to Regal’s corporate team. The company did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.

The concessions stand at the Ballston Regal theater (staff photo)

Regal’s owner, CineWorld, is also feeling the heat financially. The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2022 due to increased financial pressure caused by the pandemic.

CineWorld anticipated ticket sales to remain lower than pre-pandemic levels over the next year, though “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” are providing a much-needed boost to the theater industry as a whole.

The two films raked in $155 million and $80.5 million respectively in their opening weekend. Between internet buzz and massive media campaigns, their performance exceeded projections and marked the biggest weekend at the box office this year.

Cinemas may face doldrums further down the road, however. Actors and writers have gone on strike, halting the production of numerous movies and TV shows.


Free, family-friendly events are happening this summer at the newly renovated Metropolitan Park in Pentagon City.

Now through August and September, there will be jazz performances, outdoor movie screenings and fitness classes at the base of Amazon’s new second headquarters, sponsored by the National Landing Business Improvement District and other partners, including Amazon.

Every Thursday through mid-August, people can enjoy live jazz at the park, located near the corner of S. Elm Street and 13th Street S. The next performance tomorrow (Thursday), will be by a jazz quartet led by New York City-based saxophonist Langston Hughes II. A free ticket is required to attend and attendees can start setting up at 4 p.m.

After a hiatus next week due to the Independence Day holiday, the weekly series will pick back up on July 13 with a D.C.-based quartet led by percussionist Julian Berkowitz, and continue through Aug. 10. The entire lineup for the series, co-sponsored by DC Jazz Festival, is online.

This Friday, meanwhile, the BID will be screening “Super Mario Bros” at 7 p.m. at the park as part of its weekly Movies @ Met series. Tickets are available online and more movie dates will be announced soon, per an event page.

There will be food trucks and the BID will be passing out complimentary blankets, the event page says, noting that attendees can bring lawn chairs and leashed pets.

Another Metropolitan Park event promises a workout before the start of work. The Fit @ Met series takes place Wednesday mornings from 8-9 a.m. at the park, through Sept. 27. The classes are instructor led and free with online registration.

Upcoming classes include:

  • July 5: Boxing from BASH Boxing
  • July 12: Karin from Pure Barre Pentagon City
  • July 19: Yoga from CorePower
  • July 26: HIIT from Orangetheory Fitness Pentagon City

Separately, for those looking to sweat after work, there will be free fitness classes on Mondays from 6-7 p.m. at a temporary park nearby (101 12th Street S.) dubbed “Gateway Green.” No experience is necessary to participate but attendees will need a free ticket.

“Gateway to Fitness” classes, led by instructors from gyms in the area, are running now through Sept. 25. The days and participating gyms are as follows. Equipment is not required — besides a yoga mat — when CorePower Yoga classes are taught.

The newly renovated Met Park, which Amazon paid for, is part of the tech company’s new HQ2, which was unveiled earlier this month after years of planning and construction.

The area is also home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and other storefronts, many of them newly opened on the ground floor of HQ2.

Columbia Pike Movie Nights is back at Penrose Square and Arlington Mill (photo courtesy of Columbia Pike Partnership)

Summer movie nights are coming back to Penrose Square and Arlington Mill for a 12th year.

Columbia Pike Movie Nights is a free outdoor summer movie series taking place on Friday nights at the Arlington Mill Community Center Outdoor Plaza (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) and Saturday nights at Penrose Square Outdoor Plaza (2503 9th Road S.).

It’s scheduled to begin July 7 and run for 8 weeks through August 26. The movies will begin at sunset, generally between 8 and 8:30 p.m.

The series is organized by the Columbia Pike Partnership. It returned to the outdoor plazas last year after being drive-in only in 2020 and 2021.

Movies set to be shown are a mix of old and new classics intended to be relatively family-friendly, including Back to the Future, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Top Gun: Maverick, and Till.

The full schedule for each location is below:

Arlington Mill 

  • July 7 — Spirit Untamed
  • July 14 — Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
  • July 21 — Dog
  • July 28 — Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
  • August 4 — Lady and the Tramp
  • August 11 — Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • August 18 — Lightyear
  • August 25 — The Goonies

Penrose Square

  • July 8 — Cave Rescue
  • July 15 — Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope
  • July 22 — Back to the Future
  • July 29 — A Man Called Otto
  • August 5 — Till
  • August 12 — Top Gun: Maverick
  • August 19 — The Woman King
  • August 26 — Jurassic World Dominion

The movies will be shown in English with Spanish subtitles. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Leashed pets are welcome, organizers note, and alcohol is not permitted at either site.

Free parking will be available, though bus and bike travel is encouraged. There will be restroom access inside of Arlington Mill Community Center and at the businesses around Penrose Square.

In case of inclement weather, check the event’s webpage and social media channels for updates. Information will be “typically posted at 3:30 p.m. on the day of each screening.”

Alamo Drafthouse Crystal City (photo courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse)

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is finally making its Crystal City premiere next week.

The upscale theater chain announced today (Wednesday) that it’s opening its Crystal City location on Monday, October 24. The theater first revealed its move to Arlington more than five years ago.

The nearly 50,000-square-foot complex at 1660 Crystal Drive is framed by an exterior marquee and a lit-up vertical sign. Inside, it has 9 theaters and 915 seats, all equipped with swivel tables, power recliners, and server call buttons. There’s one particular large theater called “The Big Show,” essentially a large format screen with lots of speakers.

The Crystal City location is also aviation-themed, taking its cue from the theater’s proximity to Reagan National Airport.

“Each Alamo Drafthouse location has a unique interior theme, and the D.C. team was inspired by the theater’s proximity to the historic Washington National Airport when designing Alamo Drafthouse Crystal City,” says a press release. “From aviation design elements throughout the lobby and hallways, to a horde of snakes attacking a plane at the entrance to The Big Show, the theme continues throughout the building and completely takes flight in the theater’s specialty bar, Departures.”

The 50-person second-floor, airport-themed bar overlooking Crystal Drive “evokes the feeling of a vintage lounge found within an airport gate.”

Departures’ blue and white coloring, wallpaper, and design of the round booths adjacent to the bar itself are intended “to transport guests back to the heyday of air travel.” It also will have a menu full of “signature aviation-themed cocktails.”

Flight-inspired movie posters and props decorate the entire theater as well.

Alamo Drafthouse is known for its special programming and events and the Crystal City location is planning its own assortment, including brunch screenings and “Terror Tuesdays.”

“Terror Tuesday uncovers an eclectic mix of horror and strange discoveries from the genre fringes,” notes the release.

The theater in Crystal City has been a long time coming. It was initially supposed to debut in the spring, but supply chain challenges and “construction feasibility” pushed the opening back about six months. ARLnow first reported over the summer that the plan was to open in October.

This will mark the fourth Alamo Drafthouse in the region, with other locations in D.C., Ashburn, and Woodbridge.

“After more than five plus years of looking for the right location and another five plus years of development, we are happy [to] be opening the doors to our part of the transformation of Crystal City and National Landing as a whole,” wrote co-owners Anthony Coco and Joseph Edwards in the press release.

“The theater’s theme, lobby bar Departures, and The Big Show spaces have come together to create something special and unique to this location, the co-owners continued. “Add on the Alamo Drafthouse’s top-of-the-line audio/visual presentation, unique programming, and unparalleled food and beverage service, and the Crystal City theater will provide an unrivaled out-of-home experience that we can’t wait to deliver to our guests.”

The first screening is set for 4:30 p.m. on Monday. It will be “Black Adam,” a superhero movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Rosslyn Cinema in Gateway Park 2019 (photo via Rosslyn BID)

The original Top Gun has the top billing for the return of Rosslyn’s fall film Fridays.

For the third straight year, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) is hosting a fall film series in Gateway Park.

On the remaining Fridays in October, Rosslyn BID will be screening a movie in the county park along Langston Blvd. There will also be food trucks, lawn games, a cash bar, and other movie-themed activities.

The line-up for the rest of the month:

  • Oct. 14 — Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
  • Oct. 21 — Top Gun (1986)
  • Oct. 28 — Scooby-Doo (2002)

This past Friday (Oct. 7), the 1978 musical Grease, starring the late Olivia Newton-John, was shown.

Movies will begin shortly after sundown, around 7 p.m., “to ensure the perfect lighting for the show!” reads the website. Given the falling nighttime temperatures, warm apparel is advised.

The decision to do a fall film series again was due to “the attendance levels and interest in our summer series,” a Rosslyn BID spokesperson told ARLnow. The movies were curated based on popularity and genre. The BID wanted to do one sing-along, one family film, one throwback, and one “howl-o-ween” feature.

“From there, we put out a survey to the BID’s entire staff to help us narrow down our choices,” the spokesperson said.

There’s also a topical angle to their choices. Top Gun was chosen partially based on the huge success of the sequel that just came out this past summer. Minions: The Rise of Gru has made nearly a billion dollars at the box office worldwide since it was first released in July.

“We know minions attract a large family crowd and we can’t wait for a major evening of family fun,” the spokesperson said.

The final film in the series — 2002’s Scooby-Doo — will coincide with the BID’s “Howl-o-ween” event at Gateway Park’s interim dog park. That event will feature dog-friendly activities, treats, and a pet costume contest. The winner will be announced at the movie screening.

Rosslyn BID has hosted movies in Gateway Park for at least a decade, including during the summer. The Columbia Pike Partnership and the National Landing BID have also held outdoor film screenings, mostly during warmer weather months; both told ARLnow they are not planning any movies this fall.


The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Crystal City is currently hiring and wrapping up construction as it prepares for its premiere later this year.

In a recent update, the upscale theater chain posted construction photos and new details about its upcoming opening at 1660 Crystal Drive. The plan is to open “this fall,” the post said. ARLnow reported the hope was October.

There were also some specifics in regard to the look, feel, and aesthetic of the nine-screen, 50,000-square-foot complex.

“The cinema’s front facade will boast a beautiful marquee, reminiscent of the grand movie palaces of old, which will be accompanied by a vibrant vertical Alamo sign further up the building,” reads the post.

A collection of vintage posters will line the staircase and escalator on the way to the second floor, where there will be the box office and a 50-person bar “with a soon-to-be-announced theme and overlooking Crystal [Drive].” The bar will have signature cocktails, local beers, appetizers, and a happy hour. Adjacent to the bar, there’s set to be a rooftop patio as well.

The theaters will range from 50 to 237 seats, each with 4K laser projectors, power recliners, swivel tables, and server call buttons. The “Big Show” theater will feature a particularly large screen and lots of speakers.

“A peek behind the curtain in our Big Show auditorium, featuring a 66-foot wide PLF screen and over 70 (!!) speakers supporting an immersive Dolby Atmos surround sound experience,” says the update.

The theater is also looking to hire a number of positions, including projectionists, bartenders, servers, box office concierge, and a marketing manager.

The Texas-based theater chain first announced it was moving into Crystal City more than five years ago. Its location at 1660 Crystal Drive is next to a CVS, an Amazon Fresh and Tacombi Taqueria — and a few blocks from the future, 25,000-employee Amazon HQ2.

The theater was originally supposed to open this past spring, but that got pushed to the fall due to supply chain and construction delays.

Franchisee Cojeaux Cinemas will operate the Crystal City location, as is the case with the other four Alamo Drafthouses in D.C. and Virginia.

After a rough two years due to the pandemic, it appears that the moviegoing industry is rebounding somewhat after a good summer. That includes Alamo Drafthouse, which filed for bankruptcy early last year.

Rendering of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Crystal City (Photo courtesy of Cojeaux Cinemas)

The new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Crystal City is hoping to open in October.

The Texas-based movie theater chain expects to complete construction on its nine-screen, 50,000-square-foot complex at 1660 Crystal Drive by late September, co-owner Joseph Edwards tells ARLnow, meaning it could open to the public in October.

Franchisee Cojeaux Cinemas will operate this location, as is the case with the other Alamo Drafthouses in Virginia and D.C.

The October debut is a bit of a push from its original timeline. Last year, it was initially hoped the movie theater would open by late spring. Edwards told ARLnow back in February that supply chain issues and “construction feasibility” were the cause of the several-month delay.

At the moment, the exterior of 1660 Crystal Drive remains rather blank, but signage is currently being manufactured, Edwards says. Interior construction, though, is progressing.

“The inside is moving along nicely and starting to look like an Alamo Drafthouse. We have risers ready and drapes installed in the auditoriums,” he says. “We will begin installing seats, screens and projectors in early July then as the kitchen continues to take shape through July, equipment will begin delivering in August.”

Many of the features at the Crystal City theater are already installed in the D.C. locations. That includes Barco Laser projectors, a QSC sound system, and what’s being deemed the “Big Show” — a large format auditorium with a 66 foot screen and more than 70 speakers.

A few other items have been updated since the theater chain first announced its expansion into Arlington last year, says Edwards. There will be a rollout of new recliners complete with a swivel table (as opposed to fixed) and server call buttons.

The theater recently applied for a state permit in order to serve alcohol at a themed bar, complete with cocktails, wine, and local craft beers on tap. The bar’s exact concept has yet to be announced, however.

Cojeaux Cinemas had been looking to bring an Alamo Drafthouse to Arlington for about a decade before signing on the dotted line with property owner JBG Smith in 2017. The theater is opening in a newly-renovated retail plaza known as Central District, which also includes a Solidcore, a CVS, and a now-confirmed Amazon Fresh. It’s 3-4 blocks from the future, 25,000-employee Amazon HQ2.

The Crystal City location is one of four Alamo Drafthouses that are set to open in various parts of the U.S. over the next 18 months. It will be the third in Northern Virginia.


The 12th annual Columbia Pike Movie Nights is set to begin on Friday, July 8.

The free summer outdoor movie series will run run through Saturday, August 27, according to its website. Similar to previous years, a film is scheduled to be shown on Friday and another on Saturday each week. All screenings are set to begin at sunset between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., according to the Columbia Pike Partnership, formerly CPRO, which organizes the series.

The movies scheduled for Fridays are expected to be shown at next to Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street). Those set for Saturdays are expected to be shown at Penrose Square (2503 9th Road S.).

The movies scheduled are set to be shown in English with Spanish subtitles, according to a press release. All are rated at or below PG-13 and come from genres such as animation, musicals, documentary and others.

The full list of movie screenings is listed below.

  • Friday, July 8: Soul
  • Saturday, July 9: Ghostbusters: Afterlife
  • Friday, July 15: Mulan
  • Saturday, July 16: Summer of Soul
  • Friday, July 22: Jungle Cruise
  • Saturday, July 23: The Way I See It
  • Friday, July 29: The Secret Life of Pets
  • Saturday, July 30: Respect
  • Friday, August 5: In The Heights
  • Saturday, August 6: Spiderman: No Way Home
  • Friday, August 12: Encanto
  • Saturday, August 13: Minari
  • Friday, August 19: The Princess & The Frog
  • Saturday, August 20: Hercules
  • Friday, August 26: West Side Story
  • Saturday, August 27: Cruella

Amazon and the Washington Forrest Foundation are underwriting the series. The Columbia Pike Partnership is still looking for local businesses to sponsor individual movie screenings, according to its website.

Parking is free at both locations and audience members are welcome to bring their own chairs or blankets for seating. Leashed pets are also allowed, according to the event’s website. However, alcohol is prohibited.

In case of bad weather, the partnership is expected to post updates on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, as well as the event’s website. Such updates are set to be posted at 3:30 p.m. on the day of each screening.

Rosslyn Cinema in Gateway Park 2019 (photo via Rosslyn BID)

Rosslyn movie nights are returning to Gateway Park this summer, with a selection of voted-on fan favorites.

The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) is once again hosting a series of movie nights in June at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd).

This year’s line-up includes the following films, which all emerged victorious through a March Madness-style bracket:

  • National Treasure
  • Space Jam
  • Encanto
  • Mamma Mia

This year, residents were given the opportunity to not only vote on what movies were shown, but predict what the winners would be — much like the annual tradition of submitting a bracket predicting which team will win the college basketball championship. The three most accurate brackets win a gift card to a Rosslyn restaurant.

The bracket was broken up into four categories — family, sports, romantic comedies, and D.C. area-based — with National Treasure, Space Jam, Encanto, and Mamma Mia winning its respective group.

While voting on which movies will be shown in June concluded yesterday (Thursday), residents can still vote on which will be the ultimate winner.

Exact dates of when each movie will be shown have not been announced yet.

Rosslyn’s movie series at Gateway Park dates back at least a decade, to 2012. After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the series returned in 2021 with an abbreviated version.

Rosslyn BID is not the only community organization that will be hosting outdoor movies this summer.

The Columbia Pike Partnership’s movie nights are also set to return for their 12th year on Saturday nights starting in July, the organization has confirmed to ARLnow. The series will run July 9 through August 27 while alternating locations between Penrose Square and Arlington Mill Community Center. The calendar of movies will be announced later this spring.

In the past, the National Landing BID and Ballston BID have also both hosted summer movie nights. Ballston BID told ARLnow that they will not be hosting movies this summer, while the National Landing BID said they don’t have details to share as of yet.


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