Come on, people!

Let's All Go to the Movies (By the Bay)

We had our pick of seats, and actually changed our minds and relocated two or three times before the movie started. As the trailer for Ratatouille began, my five-year-old daughter asked me, "Daddy, when are all the people going to come to sit in those seats?"

The rows of blue beach chairs (more than 200, by my count) were set up neatly in the fenced in area inside Bayfront Park. And with the exception of the six of us in attendance for last night's screening of Meet the Robinsons, they were empty. Sunset Cinema's Movies by the Bay is clearly still finding its audience.

And it's a shame.

A cool bay breeze blew in from our left, and Miami's burgeoning skyline served as a backdrop to the giant, inflatable "airscreen." From the opening Mickey Mouse short ("The Boat Builders") through to the end of the bizarre, exuberant pop confection that is Meet the Robinsons, my daughter and I had one great night at the movies.

But it's an open question whether this superior venue will survive. The Hertig family, which runs the operation, will decamp to Wildwood, N.J. in June, where their summer operation has been packing the beach for five years, according to Rob Hertig, son of owners Bill and Susan. He says they plan to come back in the fall for another season in Miami. But if they don't start filling those chairs with some consistency, Movies By the Bay may be short-lived.

Coming soon to the bayfront cinema, a trio of part threes: Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Let's hope Movies by the Bay has as long a shelf life. --Frank Houston

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