Do they still show movies in college?

Back decades ago, when I was a college student, movies were a regular form of entertainment provided by the college. Every week there would be a free movie in a college theatre for students to watch if they wish. It would usually be a “classic” movie like some old film noir or a “cult” movie.

Nowadays, obviously, people can watch movies pretty much on their own schedule. If you want to see some obscure movie you just rent it from netflix or something. So has the idea of going to see a classic movie in a theatre become passe?

As far as I know, the only roughly equivalent thing going on here at the University of Kansas are the film series sponsored by several themed student organizations…the one I’m aware of is the Latin Amercan Students Associatioj. Several times a year they’ll screen a Spanish-language film in some random lecture hall.

I suspect that some of the dorms have informal “screenings” at the beginning of the school year, as a bonding thing, but even those are probably going the way of the dodo.

The large auditorium in the student union which used to have films like the OP describes is now mainly for live musical performances or visiting-important-person lectures (again, usually sponsored by some ethnically-themed student group).

I’m sure it depends on the school, but a decade ago at my college there was still something like a movie per month. Also other entertainment was brought in, such as stand-up comics and bands. They were generally well-attended.

Yes, my college showed a free movie every week, and I’m pretty sure they still do. They’re second-run Hollywood movies, stuff that’s been out of theaters for a while but won’t be on DVD for a few weeks. They were free for everyone, so the audience was usually made up of both students and people from the town.

I don’t think they ever showed classics or cult movies, although I know another college nearby had and has an International Film Series where they show foreign or very low-profile American movies a few times a semester. Those are free for students but cost a few bucks for non-students.

My college also shows a free movie every week or two; they’re always recent releases.

All of the colleges I went to (I got kicked out a lot) showed many movies each weekend, usually for a buck or two, generally sponsored by some student organization or other to raise funds. Most of my knowledge of the classics come from those showings.

But the college I work at now (small urban tech-oriented university) never does. I figured it was because of the whole Netflix/DVD thing.

This is/was the case as well at the four colleges I’m familiar with: my undergrad and grad schools, and the two schools where I’ve worked. Every weekend the school provides screenings of recent Hollywood movies in the campus theater, and they’re either free or very cheap (like $1). At the school where I work now the movies they were showing on Friday and Saturday were Rush and Captain Phillips. It’s my recollection from when I was an undergrad that schools can subscribe to some service that sent the movies each week rather than selecting them itself. Or at least that’s what we were told when we complained about the movie offerings.

Screenings of documentaries, foreign films, classics and cult classics might be sponsored by various student organizations or the academic departments.

As previously mentioned, I went to UCLA in the early 80s. There was a film/theater department that put on free movies several nights a week, possibly every night. Melnitz Theater IIRC. Classics, art films and the occasional new release with local important person involved giving a talk. There was also a $1 recent movie shown in Ackerman Union in an auditorium once a week, although not a real theater. The $1 shows had several hundred attending. The freebies, maybe a dozen.

We didn’t have any campus-wide movies at my first college, but we would have dorm-wide ones, although usually as part of a theme party of some sort. At my second college, we sorta had this about once a year or so, but it was jury-rigged system in the cafeteria with a mobile video projector and a blank wall and blanket curtains to section it off from everyone walking through. This college also did not have dorms, though, so this sort of thing was above and beyond what was expected.

I also did not like how, at the first college, nearly all of the college-wide events were held during the first few weeks.

My college had two actual movie theaters on campus which showed movies every night. IIRC ticket price was $2 or $3. A few second-run movies on weekends, and the rest of the week random films - lots of classics and foreign movies. It was great. I don’t recall any free films on campus, but various departments may have shown some.

I know that Michigan State and the University of New Mexico both have showings of fairly recent releases at a special rate for students. It seems to me that MSU charged a buck or two at the door; UNM makes a discount card available, I believe.

My former liberal arts university has a movie theater, and movies were shown there about five times per week. University students had access to discounted tickets. Contemporary or popular movies were shown on Friday nights. There were occasional free movie screenings at other locations, but I think the movie theater was the only consistent source of movies.

Apparently not. When my niece was in an entrepreneurship class at Babson College around 2000, her group’s big idea was to rent a video projector and show DVDs to students on Saturday nights. I was baffled. I said “doesn’t the student activities office get catalogs four times a year of all the films available for campus screenings?” Of course, Babson may be an outlier; she also noted that she’d never seen a bicycle on campus.

Luckily for some of us, Doc Films at the University of Chicago still has a full program year-round, of both recent releases and classics. It’s so nice to again be able to see a real big-screen print of The Godfather or Chinatown.

My alma mater (East Carolina University) still shows weekly films in the student center. Back when I was there, they showed Pink Flamingos as a midnight movie. Man, did a LOT of people walk out on that one!

Only rarely at the one where I work, but I think that’s more a function of expense – we’re a small public university in a state that hasn’t historically supported education (but still demands that we keep the tuition as low as possible), so we run on a shoestring. I think the student activities folks have occasionally had an outdoor screening, and I have a colleague who shows a documentary or two as part of the international series she runs every year, but that’s about it.

I found out why when I started putting together a film series to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday this spring. It’s expensive if you want to do it legally! I think I’ve managed to put together a decent lineup of screenings by going through PBS and another company that sells educational DVDs with limited public performance rights included, but the only big-studio films I could get at a reasonable price are some of the old Laurence Olivier films; pretty much everything else is going to fall into the “specifically produced as educational programming” category.

I think at my school they used to charge $1 for the movie and it was more than once a week, although I can’t recall exactly. Sometime it was relatively recent releases and often it was old classics or cartoons (the annual Looney Toons marathon was always a big hit).

The university had pretty big TV, film, and theater departments so perhaps there was more interest than at other similarly sized schools.

ETA: As I think about it, I believe the recent releases were on Friday nights and the classic or older movies played the rest of the week.

At Montana State, there was a theater on campus that showed second-run movies (mostly about 6 months after the regular theaters) for a buck or two, plus occasionally free movies (generally about some Important Topic) sponsored by some club or another. They also had a few non-recent-releases that they showed: Rocky Horror Picture Show once a year, a random porno at the end of the spring semester, occasionally something like Star Wars.

Some of the smaller clubs would also have movie nights, but those were more like a party among friends than a night at the movies. The club would get access to a seminar room with a projector, someone would bring in a fun movie from their collection or a rental, and everyone would sit around eating pizza, either for free, or for a contribution to the pizza fund.

The situation was similar at Villanova when I was there (except without the pornos), but that was close to two decades ago now, so might be out of date.

Georgia Tech plays a free movie (free to the public, no less) every week in the summer, usually a blockbuster. In the school months, the student center shows more indie/foreign films once a week for a dollar or two. I went to a few of them with friends, usually a pretty full house.

My college showed movies in the student union on weekend for a while. This was back when movie rentals cost about the same as movie theater tickets and frequently cost close to 80 bucks to buy. They stopped when they got a cease and desist letter from a law firm representing one of the major studios. Apparently a nearby locally owned video rental store told their supplier, who told their supplier, and it got back to the movie company.

At the time, I don’t think there was any way to publicly show movies on video legally, only on film.

I went to college in the late 90s/early 2000s, large state U in the Midwest.

They regularly had free movies on the weekends at a campus theater, usually films that had been released in the previous year or two, though occasionally they’d screen “cult” classics like Animal House, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The campus anime club also had screenings about once a month that were free and open to everyone. I went to quite a few of those. Saw Princess Mononoke and Ghost in the Shell that way.