Now, this is a sequel we can get behind. Auckland Council has announced that their travelling Movies in Parks event will return early in the new year. Taking its cues from all the best movie sequels it promises to be bigger, bolder and better than ever before.
Last year the popular free movie screenings drew about 30,000 movie fans to various parks around Auckland as people flocked to enjoy the latest blockbuster in the balmy summer breeze.
However, organisers are expecting to smash that number this time around and have put together a programme that features some of the biggest and most acclaimed family films of 2019.
Movies in Parks kicks off on Friday, January 24, at Ambury Farm in Mangere Bridge with Jon Favreau's The Lion King remake and runs every Friday and Saturday evening through February and March before wrapping up on Saturday, April 18, with a Special Series Finale at Brains Park in Kelston.
In between those dates film fans can look forward to screenings of Crazy Rich Asians (Kingsland's Nixon Park, Friday, February 14), Toy Story 4 (Onehunga's Fergusson Domain, Saturday, March 21 ) and Spider-Man: Far from Home (Rosedale's Rosedale Park, Friday, March 27).
Alongside all the animated adventures and superhero shenanigans there will be screenings of cinema classics like Spielberg's E.T. (Devonport's Woodall Park, Thursday, April 9) and the beloved musical Grease (Manukau's Barry Curtis Park, Saturday, April 1), as well as recent New Zealand films Iike the coming of age comedy Hibiscus & Ruthless (Avondale's Eastdale Reserve, Friday, February 7), the Rose McIver starring musical Daffodils (park TBC, Saturday, April 11) and the acclaimed documentary Poi E, which explores the history of the Patea Māori Club's 80s breakdance banger (Pt Chev's Coyle Park, Friday, April 3).
All up, Movies in Parks will screen a whopping 20 movies over the summer giving you ample opportunity to catch up on the big blockbusters you missed this year while being outside enjoying nature and the great outdoors.
While the film being screened is the main draw, it's only half the story. The evenings have a festival atmosphere with food trucks on site to grab a bite and pre-movie entertainment to enjoy before the sun sets and the movie begins.
Perhaps the best part about Movies in Parks is that you don't need to be all organised. With no tickets or bookings required to enjoy the show you can make a last-minute decision to rock up and catch a flick.
Full details of all the movies and the parks they'll be playing at can be found online at moviesinparks.co.nz from next Thursday.
New and improved
The year's biggest reboots and remakes from the House of Mouse are hitting the parks in what are certain to be some of the most popular screenings. There's the Will Smith-starring Aladdin remake (Manakau Sports Bowl, Saturday, February 8) and the aforementioned shot-for-shot Lion King remake. But our pick has to be Tim Burton's live-action/animated take on Dumbo (Mt Wellington's Hamlin Park, Saturday, February 22). He brings his signature gothy-weirdness to the classic tale of the circus flying elephant and we can't wait to roll up.
Get clued up
Of the animated offerings we recommend you choo-choo-choose Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. Okay, stop rolling your eyes and hear us out; Ryan Reynolds snarks his heart out for the entire movie. Whoever thought to turn the beloved character Pikachu into a wisecracking jerk - and then have Reynolds voice that wisecracking jerk - deserves all of the praise. Kids and Poke-fans will dig the mystery-comedy flick, but even if you've no idea what a Pokemon is, you'll uncover lots of lols in Reynolds jovial sarcasm. If you still don't believe us then Toy Story 4 is the safe bet.
And then a hero comes along...
There'll be no shortage of spandex-clad superheroes saving the day down at the parks this summer, but we reckon DC's Aquaman (Waiuku's Rugby Park, Saturday, March 7) is worth diving into. It's a tsunami of ridiculousness, yes, but it prioritises fun and doesn't take itself too seriously - as evidenced by all the scenes of sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads.
No kids? No Problem!
If you're after something a little more adult-orientated then the popular rom-com Yesterday (St Heliers' Glover Park Friday, March 13) is a good option. The movie's about a young chap who wakes up one day to discover he's the only person on Earth who remembers The Beatles and then promptly turns that fact to his advantage. Written by the amusingly sentimental Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) and directed with typical flashy pizzazz by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) it'll make for a great Date Night movie to cuddle up with.