Film execs from the UK, US, France and Thailand reflect on their best summer movie memories.
Founder of Thailand-based De Warrenne Pictures
The was the summer of 1999, at Odeon Leicester Square cinema in London. It was possibly the most anticipated release in history for a Star Wars fan like myself and one of the most eagerly awaited films to open in UK cinemas since… well, Return Of The Jedi. It was the matinee performance, the first public screening for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and everyone I knew who had grown up with the Force was there. Some fans were brandishing lightsabres and others wore Jedi outfits. No-one yet knew of the travesty to come - the ill-fated Jar Jar Binks. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying the wonderful experience of seeing the Lucasfilm logo on screen and John Williams’ theme kick in once again. The audience cheered and applauded. No-one went home immediately disappointed - we were too much in shock. Had Lucas intentionally made a film for kids, or was it that we were now all grown up?
Managing director of UK distributor Soda Pictures
Summer, 1985, in Toronto. My aunt asked me if I wanted to go to the cinema and I was only too happy to say yes. I was underage for a “restricted’ movie but even so she took me to see the R-rated St Elmo’s Fire. I remember stepping up to the box office and her very matter-of-factly asking for two tickets. The woman asked if I was old enough, to which my aunt replied, “Of course she is.” And that was that.
I felt incredibly grown-up and thoroughly enjoyed every second. It was a turning point in my outlook on film-going - not to mention the beginning of my love for Rob Lowe.
Producer and founder of the UK’s Recorded Picture Company and HanWay
My favourite summer film memory is the screening of one of my own films in the sweltering night heat at the Circus Maximus in Rome… … Many thousands of people were sitting on the grass waiting to see Bertolucci’s 1987 epic The Last Emperor projected on a giant screen. [DoP] Vittorio Storaro had been tinkering and as the light faded, with the crowd expectation buzzing, the film commenced. It was a moment of beauty for all involved.
President of French distributor Pretty Pictures
Grease, dubbed into Italian, please! It was late summer 1978 at Cinema Forte-dei-Marmi in Tuscany, and I was munching on my gelato stracciatella, tapping my feet and singing along to “Summer Nights’.
Having truly arrived in my teens -
I will not speculate as to whether these were my early or late teens - I could at last forget my earlier, inevitable crush on Jenny Agutter after seeing her in the oh-so-wonderful The Railway Children.
Apologies to Olivia Newton-John, but that day I was to meet a real crush in the cinema crowd [identity not to be revealed here].
Partner at the US’s XYZ Films
Growing up in Las Vegas, movie theatres were one of the few places someone under the age of 21 could find shelter from the sweltering heat. However, the cinemas would blast air conditioning to blizzard-like conditions so you were forced to wear a jacket. It’s a bit silly to have to carry winter clothes in Vegas during the summer months.
I was 13 years old when Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 landed in the summer of
1995 and it was a memorable screening experience for an unfortunate reason; I had a terrible case of the flu. I’ll never forget the drastic contrast between the 110 degree heat and ice-cold theatre, but it was such a movie event that I was determined to see it anyway. To make matters worse, when Tom Hanks and his crew were forced to conserve energy and the spaceship became a galactic igloo, I felt as if I were experiencing a 4D movie, suffering from an extreme case of the chills.
The film was a masterpiece - seeing it in those conditions make it the summer movie I’ll never forget.