Close to 100 people watched Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 classic “Rear Window” in July 2006 at the La Placita courtyard. This year, Cinema La Placita will be at the Tucson Museum of Art.

James S. Wood / Arizona Daily Star 2006

Cinema La Placita next week kicks off its 18th year of showing classic movies in downtown Tucson in a new location — the plaza of the Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave.

Since May 2000, hundreds of Tucsonans have turned out to watch classic films downtown under the stars every Thursday at 7:30 p.m., May through August. Admission remains $3, which includes popcorn.

The film series got its start, and its name, at La Placita Village.

Erika O’Dowd founded the outdoor film series when she was marketing manager for La Placita Village. Her then-boss, Jane McCollum, who is now general manager of the Marshall Foundation, charged her with coming up with a weekly event to bring people into the plaza. It has grown into a family tradition with her husband, Josh Pope, and daughter.

After news last year that La Placita was to be demolished, the nonprofit movie series migrated over the foot bridges that connected it to El Presidio Park, and into the courtyard of the historic Pima County Courthouse, 115 N. Church Ave. By coincidence, the historic courthouse was designed by Tucson architect Roy Place, who was O’Dowd’s great, great uncle.

The move drew a lot of new faces, O’Dowd said.The historic courthouse, however, began a two-year restoration project the day after Cinema La Placita wrapped up its season last August.

Then the Tucson Museum of Art contacted O’Dowd about moving to its Plaza of the Pioneers.

Moviegoers can dine at Cafe a la Cart and buy beer and wine. And there will be plenty of street parking.

“I’m going to miss being at the courthouse,” she said. “But it’s been a pretty smooth move.”

La Cocina, tucked inside the walls of Old Town Artisans, is also within walking distance. Moviegoers are also welcome to bring a picnic dinner.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this upcoming season in their beautiful plaza,” she said.