The Orca Theater is seen on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Orca Theater is seen on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Orca kicks off kids summer movie series this month

This is the seventh year of “Kids Summer Fun”

Starting later this month, the Orca Theater will show a children’s movie each Tuesday of summer, with discounted admission.

Shelly Endsley, who owns the Orca Theater, said this is the seventh year of “Kids Summer Fun,” and that they put it on to provide more activities for kids in the summer months.

“Whenever your kids are home, you need something for them to do,” she said.

Kids Summer Fun, Endsley said, is exciting because often she sees kids come out for their “first movie ever.”

Selecting the films for exhibition is a process, Endsley said, which began with her film buyer putting out a request to the studios explaining what they’re looking for. That’s why Endsley said each of the films being shown this summer are owned by Universal Pictures, largely through their Dreamworks Animation and Illumination studios.

Taking all of the films from one studio allowed for most of the films to be sent to Alaska on a single hard drive.

Endsley said she was able to get a list of options early this year and open the selection to the community via Facebook. She said the film that received the most attention was the 1988 film “The Land Before Time.”

“Last year was the first year we had it. And it was huge,” Endsley said. “We’re bringing it back this year.”

For every movie shown, Endsley said there’s a cost she has to pay to the studios — whether one person shows up or whether the show sells out. That’s in addition to paying staff and other expenses. She credited sponsor Trustworthy Hardware with making it a financial reality, “because otherwise I couldn’t do it.”

In addition to that support, Endsley said that Connections Homeschool is providing a free “Kiddie Combo” to the first 25 kids that walk in for each week’s showing.

A full list of films and dates can be found at, where tickets can also be purchased in advance. All tickets for the Kids Summer Fun showings are $3. A movie will be shown each week on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. from May 30 until Aug. 1, with the exception of July 4.

“Certain movies are going fast,” Endsley said. “If you want those select seats or seats together either come into the theater and pre-purchase your tickets, or you can get on our app or the website.”

Kids Summer Fun Schedule

May 30 — “How to Train Your Dragon”

June 6 — “Trolls World Tour”

June 13 — “The Croods: A New Age”

June 20 — “The Land Before Time”

June 27 — “Minions: The Rise of Gru”

July 11 — “The Secret Life of Pets”

July 18 — “Sing 2”

July 25 — “Abominable”

Aug. 1 — “Kung Fu Panda”

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