Keep it Classic

Beloved classic summer movie series returns to the Paramount Theatre stage

Beloved classic summer movie series returns to the Paramount Theatre

Casablanca movie
The Paramount Summer Classic Film Series kicks off with an 80th-anniversary screening of Casablanca next Thursday, May 26. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Returning for its 48th year, the beloved Paramount Summer Classic Film Series kicks off next Thursday, May 26. While programming includes both tried-and-true classics, milestone anniversaries, and new fan favorites, the series kicks off with Casablanca, which marks its 80th anniversary this year.

Casablanca is part of the “How to Steal a Movie” kickoff theme, celebrating some of the great scene-stealing supporting performances of all time, including the 70th anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain, Goodfellas, A Fish Called Wanda, and Paper Moon.

The series then moves on to a “How to Steal Everything Else” grouping with thieves, con artists, and heists taking center stage. Filmgoers can see The Italian Job, Rafifi, Bottle Rocket, How to Steal a Million, a 30th anniversary screening of Reservoir Dogs, The Sting, and Bonnie and Clyde.

While most films in the summer lineup are curated by film programmer Stephen Jannise, Paramount also announced a new partnership with Hyperreal Film Club for a six-film screening series of “new classics,” such as 2015’s spectacle-driven action movie Mad Max: Fury Road on June 9. Founded in 2016, Austin-based Hyperreal has produced hundreds of pop-up screenings in every location imaginable with a “cinema for the people” ethos tethered around radical inclusivity, radical community, and radically fantastic movies.

“Hyperreal Film Club is excited to partner with the Paramount Theatre to add six films to the summer lineup for Austin moviegoers ranging from forgotten and underseen cinema to kinetic cult classics paired with locally made short films, all guaranteed to surprise and delight audiences,” says Jenni Kaye, Hyperreal Film Club co-founder, in a statement.

Other special events and screenings include a special James Bond night for Father's Day, a 40th anniversary screening of 1982’s Annie, and a national Pride month screening of Paris is Burning. Showing on Friday, June 10, the landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s Black and LatinX Harlem drag ball scene. Following the event will be the Majestic Cabaret Ball on Saturday, June 11, which will transform the historic downtown theater into a cabaret lounge to bring lights-flashing, music-blasting ballroom to the big stage.

Presented in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign Austin, this Pride month event celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community by spotlighting some of Central Texas’ most beloved QPOC artists, giving Austinites a chance to revel in the fun right along with them. Featuring drag queen extraordinaire Diamond Dior Davenport, award-winning plus-sized cabaret troupe Fat Bottom Cabaret, and the ball of the century hosted by The Legendary Mother Natalie Lepore and her House of Lepore, attendees are invited to compete on the historic Paramount stage in various categories where they will be scored on their outfits, attitudes, dance skills, runway walk, and more in an attempt to be the "Belle of the Ball."

"I can't wait to welcome everyone back in our theatres for this beloved annual tradition,” says the Paramount’s Stephen Jannise in a press release. “We are so thrilled to be partnering with Hyperreal Film Club — a newer but already irreplaceable part of the Austin film scene — on six films this summer, and a screening of Paris is Burning followed by our very own Majestic Cabaret Ball is going to be an unmissable highlight of an incredible summer. I hope to see you there!"

Tickets and more details on May and June films can be found at austintheatre.org/film, while future announcements will cover July through September. Austinites can rest assured the insanely popular Hitchcock Week is coming. Films are back at the State Theatre next door, as well, providing even more chances to escape the record-breaking Texas heat for buttery popcorn and can’t-miss movies.