I love attending movie showings at venues that set a live orchestra to movie soundtracks. I’ve attended a few of the Harry Potter ones, most recently Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (one of the best Harry Potter films. IMO). On August 5th of 2018, I got to enjoy the San Diego Symphony Orchestra play under the bright lights of downtown’s skyscrapers on one side, and the beautiful harbor on the other. It was, well…a magical experience.
Conducted by John Jenesky, and performed at the Embarcadero Marina Park South, it was beyond cool to see up close how a large symphony was coaxed into creating a wall of music.
I was fortunate enough to snag one of the tables up close by the orchestra, under the massive outdoor movie screen. Wine, good food, and tasty desserts were available. I can’t say everything was perfect: the lines at the PortaPotty “village” were long and stinky, and the parking was awful — you could pay absurd fees to park nearby, or find a side street out of the area and schedule a long walk in. Also, the traffic once the event ended was just snarly, taking almost an hour to exit the expensive parking garage; no joke. For all things downtown, I’ve learned it’s better to UBER in and out.
However, it’s very worthwhile to catch these kind of events if you can. Of course the movie was enjoyable alone, and got me more psyched for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald. And I went with my Harry Potter Meetup friends, dressed in my best Hogwarts robes (Gryffindor House, natch). We brought our wands and had ourselves a very merry evening.
There’s something special about having a live musical performance set to great movies with a note-perfect soundtrack. The music sounded exactly like the original track by Patrick Doyle and the great John Williams. (Which, really, one would expect in a big city’s orchestral group. We’re not talking about a high school marching band, after all.)
The Harry Potter series plays one movie a year for the season’s program of Bayside Summer Nights. In previous years, I got to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and The Prisoner of Askaban. I missed The Sorcerer’s Stone, but maybe it will come around again (in…um, six years — or longer if they include the Fantastic Beasts films).
I also recently watched Star Wars: A New Hope in this setting — also an outstanding experience. I’d happily shell out money for these geeky events whenever I find them, whether it’s for Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, the Star Wars oeuvre, Indiana Jones’ lineup, ET, Titanic…anything iconic, with a strong, distinctive soundtrack. (Notice the prevalence of John Williams’ films. The man is a master.)
If you get a chance to view a great movie set to a live symphony, make it happen. Highly recommended.
Related, on RunPee —
Don’t miss your favorite movie moments because you have to pee or need a snack. Use the RunPee app (Android or iPhone ) whenever you go to the movies. (We've been doing this over 10 years now.) We always have Peetimes for the latest wide release films, including Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 1917, and Jumanji: The Next Level, etc. You can also keep up with the latest movie news and reviews on our blog or by following us on Twitter @RunPee, and liking us on Facebook.
Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)