There's nothing like a movie theater in the summer, with the ice-cold chill of an air conditioner you're not paying for and films taking you to faraway, magical or funny places that seem just a little more possible this time of year. 

Four local movie theaters are offering special series during the coming months; Maya Cinemas, Edwards Cinemas and Studio Movie Grill will screen recent family favorite films for $1, while Reading Cinemas will be holding a Studio Ghibli Summer Festival.

And if you're willing to brave the heat, the Movies in the Parks series will pay off with a family friendly lineup and free admission.

Reading Cinemas (2000 Wible Road)

Fans of Studio Ghibli and the uninitiated will want to check out Reading Cinemas this summer, when the theater will be screening 11 films from beloved Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki and his studio team.

Each film will be played twice, on a consecutive Wednesday and Thursday, but each of those two screenings will be a unique experience: If you're an anime purist, check out the Wednesday evening screenings, when the films will be in Japanese with English subtitles; for those who'd rather watch the English-dubbed version, go to the Thursday morning screenings. Or super-fans can go to both and compare!

Films will be screened at 7 p.m. Wednesdays ($9) and 11 a.m. Thursdays ($6). There is one exception: With the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday, that week's evening/Japanese screening will be on Tuesday, July 3.

June 13 and 14: "Princess Mononoke"

June 20 and 21: "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind"

June 27 and 28: "My Neighbor Totoro"

July 3 and 5: "Porco Rosso"

July 11 and 12: "Kiki's Delivery Service"

July 18 and 19: "Tales from Earthsea"

July 25 and 26: "Castle in the Sky"

Aug. 1 and 2: "The Tale of Princess Kaguya"

Aug. 8 and 9: "Spirited Away"

Aug. 15 and 16: "Howl's Moving Castle"

Aug. 22 and 23: "From Up on Poppy Hill"

Edwards Cinemas (9000 Ming Ave.)

In addition to its Summer Movie Express series (more on that below), Edwards Cinemas is also getting into the Studio Ghibli fun with a fest of its own. Throughout the year, it screens a different film each month, with three showings for each. For the summer, it's "Pom Poko" on June 17, 18 and 20; "Princess Mononoke" on July 22, 23 and 25; and "Grave of the Fireflies" on Aug. 12, 13 and 15. Sunday screenings are at 12:55 p.m. and weekday screenings are 7 p.m. Admission is $12.50.

It has also returned with its slate of $1 screenings of recent family films. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, Edwards will show two films, with both movies playing both days and starting at 10 a.m. 

The series is heading into week three on Tuesday, but there are still several fun flicks to catch in the coming weeks. 

June 19 and 20: "Storks" and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman"

June 26 and 27: "Despicable Me 2" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2"

July 3 and 4: "The Lego Movie" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks"

July 10 and 11: "Sing" and "The Peanuts Movie"

July 17 and 18: "The Lego Ninjago Movie" and "Ferdinand"

July 24 and 25: "The Secret Life of Pets" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel"

July 31 and Aug. 1: "The Lego Batman Movie" and "Trolls"

Aug. 7 and 8: "Minions" and "The Boss Baby"

Maya Cinemas (1000 California Ave.)

The Kids Summer Film Festival is back at Maya Cinemas, kicking off this week with "Megamind" and "The Emoji Movie." Films are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. Admission is $1.

Today and Thursday: "Megamind" and "The Emoji Movie"

June 20 and 21: "Ferdinand" and "Monster House"

June 27 and 28: "The Peanuts Movie" and "How to Train Your Dragon" 

July 4 and 5: "The Smurfs" and "The Boss Baby"

July 11 and 12: "Shrek" and "Kubo and the Two Strings"

July 18 and 19: "The Secret Life of Pets" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

July 25 and 26: "The Book of Life" and "Trolls"

Aug. 1 and 2: "Sing" and "Chicken Run"

Aug. 8 and 9: "The Lego Batman Movie" and "Kung Fu Panda 3"

Studio Movie Grill (2733 Calloway Drive)

The new Studio Movie Grill theater in northwest Bakersfield is also getting in on the summer movie fun. Like Edwards and Maya, it will offer $1 movie screenings on recent family friendly movies. All screenings are at 10 a.m. each weekday, giving you plenty of chances to see their films. 

Today until Friday: "How to Train Your Dragon 2"

June 18-22: "Ferdinand"

June 25-29: "Captain Underpants"

July 2-6: "The Boss Baby"

July 9-13: "Horton Hears a Who"

July 16-20: "The Peanuts Movie"

July 23-27: "The Croods"

July 30-Aug. 3: "The Prince of Egypt"

Aug. 6-10: "Megamind"

Movies in the Parks

For a free film experience, check out the returning Movies in the Parks series, courtesy of the City of Bakersfield. Films will screen on Friday nights at dusk. Bring your blankets and chairs to complete the perfect outdoor movie experience. Snacks will be available for purchase.

Friday: "Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash," Lowell Park

June 22: "Peter Rabbit," Greystone Park

June 29: "Ferdinand," Siemon Park

July 6: "Despicable Me 3," Central Park

July 13: "Paddington 2," Silver Creek Park

July 20: "Cars 3," Stonecreek Park

July 27: "Coco," Spectrum Amphitheatre, Park at River Walk

Kelly Ardis can be reached at 661-395-7660. Follow her on Twitter at @TBCKellyArdis.

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