Top of the Park Movie Night Review

Last night was the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s first movie night at Top of the Park. Since it was Sunday, it was family night and they showed Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone. Along with several other families of my daughter’s friends, we decided to give the movie night a chance. We had several areas of concern for the movie – the late hour (it only starts at 10p), the bugs, and ability to see/hear the screen.

Top of the Park movies are shown on an inflatable screen on the steps of the Rackham Graduate Building on the University of Michigan campus. Seating is available on the campus’s Ingalls Mall. Sunday nights are Family Nights with a Kids Rock concert at 7p and other kid-friendly music through the night.

Since it was Father’s Day and we had family plans for dinner, we did not arrive until 9:20p and joined our friends who already had their blankets spread out in the grass to the side of the main seating area and waited for it to get dark so the show could begin (movies start at 10p).

The movie started a few minutes after 10p to many cheers from the crowd. We had great seats and could easily see the screen which was very clear. The volume was also sufficient that we did not have trouble hearing it from our location. They also had subtitles turned on

We brought a blanket which was a better choice than chairs which would impede the view of the people behind us. Next time however, I will bring either pillows or extra blankets to roll up to use as a pillow.


We were pleasantly surprised at the lack of bugs even though we were sitting in the grass. I was prepared with bug spray and a ThemaCell lantern to ward off the mosquitos. We never needed to apply the bug spray or turn on the lantern. The lack of bugs was probably due to the recent cold nights, so I will still be prepared if we come another night.

Most of the Food Tents were open during the movie. From my vantage point, the beverages, Snack Shack, Sweetwaters, and Stucchi’s Tents seemed to be doing a consistent business through the movie. I did notice that some were starting to shut down when we left.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has a run time of 2 hours 32 minutes and since it only started at 10p, we had taken two cars to the movie. My husband wasn’t planning to stay for the full movie since he had to work today. Since my daughter has the week off from camp and nothing scheduled for today, we were planning to stay later. As it turns out, we would have been ok with one car as my husband left at 11:30p and 10 minutes later my daughter asked to leave. We dropped one of her friends and her mom off on our way home (the friend’s brother and dad stayed).  We have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, so we are planning a movie watching afternoon for the kids to finish watching the movie.

We really enjoyed seeing a movie at Top of the Park and will return for future movies although we will probably select shorter movies. We had fun visiting with friends, having snacks, and watching the movie.

Other Sunday night family movies this year are:

As much as my daughter enjoyed The Hobbit, I think we will skip that movie or plan to leave early like we did with Harry Potter.
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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

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