Hollywood Movies

FAMU grad, Hollywood producer Will Packer launches Friday night movies series on campus

April 4, 20244 Mins Read

FAMU students gather at the Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater.

FAMU students gather at the Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater.

Florida A&M University is giving the Tallahassee community reason to grab some popcorn every Friday night this month.

FAMU alumnus and noted Hollywood producer Will Packer is launching a “Friday Night Movies On The Yard” series on the university’s campus this April, where special screenings will take place at the Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater for students, faculty and the local community.

Starting Friday, films produced by the Will Packer Productions company and powered by Universal Pictures will be showcased — “Ride Along,” “Little,” “Straight Out of Compton” and “Girls Trip,” which is dubbed as one of the most successful R-rated comedies of all time.

The screenings will be free of charge.

“My journey with filmmaking began right here on this campus when I created my first film, Chocolate City,” Packer, a St. Petersburg native, said in a prepared statement. He graduated from the university in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

“I made these films to be watched on a big screen with a community, and I’m thrilled to come full circle and curate this special shared experience at FAMU.”

Will Packer at the FAMU amphitheater that bears his name.Will Packer at the FAMU amphitheater that bears his name.

Will Packer at the FAMU amphitheater that bears his name.

More on Will Packer: Will Packer, one of FAMU’s most celebrated alums, returns to an amphitheater with his name on it

Throughout Packer’s career, he has either produced or executive-produced films that grossed more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office. He is also the founder and CEO of Will Packer Productions and Will Packer Media, and he has had 10 No. 1 films.

The $2 million performing arts amphitheater — an outdoor venue on FAMU’s campus — was named in Packer’s honor in 2021 following plans that were in the making to bring the initiative to life since 2019.

Packer gifted the university $500,000 toward the amphitheater’s completion while a $1.5 million grant came from the Knight Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that funds journalism, arts and culture initiatives in different communities.

FAMU President Larry Robinson.FAMU President Larry Robinson.

FAMU President Larry Robinson.

“Florida A&M University welcomes the first movie series of its kind at the Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater,” FAMU President Larry Robinson said in a university release. “This series is another thoughtful way for our students, faculty and staff to welcome the community to share and enjoy our wonderful campus.”

The FAMU amphitheater is located at 1675 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. just south of Lee Hall, and each movie throughout the series will begin at 8 p.m. while seating will start at 7 p.m.

Schedule of “Friday Night Movies On The Yard” series:

  • April 5, “Ride Along” — An Atlanta cop offers to take his sister’s boyfriend, an Atlanta security guard, along on a police ride to test his skills in the law enforcement field; featuring Kevin Hart, Ice Cube.

  • April 12, “Little” — A rich woman who torments her employees while working in the tech industry transforms into a 13-year-old version of herself and is forced to heavily rely on her underappreciated assistant; featuring Marsai Martin, Issa Rae, Regina Hall.

  • April 19, “Girls Trip” — Four best friends turn a work vacation in New Orleans into a girl’s trip, which brings out their wild sides; featuring Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish.

  • April 26, “Straight Out of Compton” — A groundbreaking new group of West Coast rappers, NWA, changes and influences hip-hop with its first studio album in 1988 that depicts what life is like in Southern Los Angeles; featuring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins.

Contact Tarah Jean at tjean@tallahassee.com or follow her on X: @tarahjean_.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FAMU alum, producer Will Packer launches Friday Night Movies series

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