Free & Cheap Summer Movies in the Iowa City Area (+ Free Printable!)

Summer is here and the kids are home! It’s a great time for lots of family activities. But all those fun experiences can start to get a little pricey. We’re lucky, though, because here in the Iowa City area, we have tons of opportunities to catch a family movie or see a film with just the grown ups in a totally affordable way this summer.

I found more than 65 movie showings in Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty, and nothing on this list costs more than $3 per person. Most are FREE, and most involve air conditioning so you can beat the summer heat. So, let’s relax, let’s take a break from refereeing whatever craziness our kids are up to, and let’s all go to the movies!

Marcus Theatres

Coral Ridge Cinema
1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville

Sycamore Cinema
1602 Sycamore St, Iowa City

Theater Information

(Coral Ridge Cinema & Sycamore Cinema locations)

The Kids Dream Summer Movies features family films for just $3 each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday starting at 10:00 a.m. I’ll let you in on a little secret. You can use this link to print your tickets in advance and get in for free! That way you can save that $3 and use it to buy popcorn for the kids. Ask for the KidsDream specials; popcorn and drinks are just $2.75 each.


July 2, 3, 5: A Dog’s Purpose
July 9, 10, 12: The Lego Batman Movie
July 16, 17, 19: Trolls
July 23, 24, 26: Monster Trucks
July 30, 31, August 2: Curious George
August 6, 7, 9: Storks
August 13, 14, 16: Smurfs: The Lost Village

Iowa City Public Library

124 S. Linn Street, Iowa City

Theater Information

Stop by the ICPL for Monday Matinees each week at 1 p.m. in the Storytime Room for a screening of some of our favorite family movies! This is a FREE event and is open to children of all ages. For more information, call the Library at (319) 356-5200.

July 3, 2017: Toy Story
July 10, 2017: Cars
July 17, 2017: Kubo and the Two Strings
July 24, 2017: Beauty and the Beast
July 31, 2017: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
August 7, 2017: The Lego Batman Movie

Teen Movie Series

The library also has a special movie series just for teens, showing films and sharing popcorn on Tuesday afternoons at 2 p.m.

July 11, 2017: Rogue One
July 25, 2017: Power Rangers
August 1, 2017: Before I Fall

Family Movie Night

July 17, 2017 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.: A Dog’s Purpose

Backpocket Brewery

903 Quarry Rd. Coralville

Theater Information

Backpocket Brewery Beer Garden
Iowa River Landing

Every Thursday night Backpocket Brewery hosts a free movie screening outside the brewery in the beer garden. Movies start at sunset (weather permitting).


July 6, 2017: Breakfast Club
July 13, 2017: Superbad
July 20, 2017: Bridesmaids
July 27, 2017: Fast and Furious 1
August 3, 2017: Caddyshack
August 10, 2017: Anchorman
August 17, 2017: Friday Night Lights


118 E College St, Iowa City

Theater Information

The Picture Show is a family and children’s series featuring the best in all-ages programming. Summer shows are on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays at 10 a.m. This summer, it’s all Harry Potter, all the time! Tickets are only $2.50 and they have a Picture Show “pick two” combo where you can choose any two of candy, popcorn or a drink for $5. 


July 6, 8, 9: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
July 13, 15, 16: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
July 20, 22, 23: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
July 27, 29, 30: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

North Liberty Public Library

520 W. Cherry Street, North Liberty

Theater Information

Free movies and popcorn are available throughout the summer at NLPL. Check out their flicks for tweens (4th– 6th grades), teens, families, and adults.   


July 6, 2017, 11:00 a.m.: Lego Batman Movie, just for Tweens
July 11, 2017, 6:30 p.m.: The Hundred Foot Journey
July 14, 2017, 5:30-8:00 p.m.: Tween Lock-In with pizza and movie (movie TBD)
July 21, 2017, 6:00 p.m.: Moana – Family Movie Night with popcorn
July 27, 2017, 1:00 p.m.: Movie for Teens (movie TBD)
August 18, 2017, 6:00 p.m.: Sing – Family Movie Night with popcorn

Coralville Public Library

1401 5th Street, Coralville

Theater Information

The library has free movies for 1-4th graders, teens, families, and adults. All movies are free and CPL provides popcorn.


July 5, 2017, 1:00 p.m. (Grades 1-4): Wall-E
July 6, 2017, 6:30 p.m. (Teen Screenz): Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
July 10, 2017, 6:00 p.m. (Family Night): Frozen Sing Along
July 11, 2017, 6:00 p.m. (LitFlicks-Movies Adapted from Books): Crossfire
July 19, 2017, 6:00 p.m. (Adult Summer Movies): LaLa Land

MacBride Hall

17 North Clinton Street, Iowa City

Theater Information

Iowa City Summer of the Arts Saturday Movie Series
(Outside MacBride Hall)

Free movie screenings start at 8:50 p.m. on the east side of MacBride Hall.  Bring your own blankets, lawn chairs and snacks! 


July 8, 2017: Captain America: Civil War
July 15, 2017: Young Frankenstein
July 22, 2017: The Princess Bride
July 29, 2017: Bridge of Spies
August 5, 2017: Home
August 12, 2017: Pitch Perfect
August 19, 2017: Finding Dory
August 26, 2017: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Free & Cheap Summer Movies Printable

Click on the image above to print, or click here.

Whether you’re headed to the library, the beer garden, downtown, or one of our local theaters, I hope you’ve found a few shows your family can enjoy. Don’t forget to take advantage of the printable movie listing and post it on your fridge so you have some fun ideas the next time you need a movie break or one of your kids tells you they are bored.

See you at the movies!
Laura is a mom of three who works full-time from home as a Development Director for a children’s charity. Laura grew up in Maryland, spent her 20s living in Southern California and South Carolina, and has spent her 30s and now 40s in Iowa, moving to Iowa City in 2010. Laura loves dancing, reading, baking, and music. She and her husband Ryan started dating in college (gasp – over 20 years ago!) and they have been sharing life’s adventures ever since. Their biggest adventure is, of course, parenthood. With three kids, the action is non-stop - which is just the way Laura likes it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.