Millennium Park unveils state-of-the-art outdoor movie screen - Fox 2 News Headlines

Millennium Park unveils state-of-the-art outdoor movie screen

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago is arguably the best place in the country for summertime fun. Now there is a new, huge video screen at Millennium Park that you can take advantage of, for free and weekly movie screenings are just the beginning. Park officials are also hoping to bring live sporting and music events from around the world to you.

It's state-of-the-art technology: a portable 40 by 23-foot video display unit -- the size of some apartments! There are only two in the country.

"We are the first city with a permanent screen of this magnitude and this quality," Executive Director Edward Uhur explains. "The other one is a traveling one used for Cirque Du Soleil Michael Jackson Experience Tour."

The inaugural event of the free Millennium Park film series began with at 6:30 p.m. with a tribute to the late film critic, Roger Ebert.

The LED device was purchased for more than $550,000 by the not-for-profit Millennium Park Incorporated, which will also pay for all the running costs.

"To rent a screen for as many performances as we think we'll have ultimately, maybe over 50 performances, would cost way more than that to rent it each time," Uhur says.

The idea of getting permanent video capability here was inspired by a smaller 30 by 16-foot screen loaned to the park last year for a showing of a ballet performance from Paris. It was a huge success and now officials at Millennium Park Incorporated are hoping to have more than just movie nights at the park.

"That simulcast was so terrific, that we want to do more of those," Uhlur says. "even international simulcasts. The possibilities are unlimited. We just need the time and space to do it."

If they find the time and space, you might see live simulcasts of  sporting events,  operas, symphonies and other musical and theatre performances  from around the world on that big screen. That's all still in the planning stages.

For now, the schedule is set for a total of ten films showing every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. until August 20. This season's theme is musicals, including films like "Moulin Rouge" and "Dream Girls."

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