Budget Cuts Shutter Delray's Free Friday Night Flicks

There's no such thing as a free movie.
There's no such thing as a free movie.
Flickr user: EmbellishYourself

For the past six years, downtown Delray Beach was home to a rare luxury -- classic and kiddie movies, screened for free under the stars.

All you had to do was pack a lawn chair, some popcorn, and your favorite 8-year-old, and you could enjoy Top Gun or the latest Harry Potter flick in Delray's historic Old School Square. In 2006, New Times named these monthly Friday Night Flicks the best free movies in the area.

But this fall, tough economic times have forced the screen to

go dark. "We were really in kind of a budget crunch," says Melissa Carter, marketing director for the non-profit Old School Square."It's impacting all the cultural organizations."

Sponsors, such a car dealership, newspaper, and radio station, pulled out, saying they wanted bigger crowds than the average 200-person audience, Carter explains. Their contributions helped cover licensing fees, staff salaries, and the technical maneuvering needed to show the films.Rainy nights, which occurred far too regularly even during the winter, didn't help either.

Carters says Old School Square is now re-evaluating the program, and hopes to revive it. "I think we all would like to see it come back," she says. "I think people will miss it."


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