Filmed in Ocean City, 'Ping Pong Summer' opens in theaters Friday.
In Maryland, Ocean City is abuzz as Ping Pong Summer, the full-length comedy shot in the resort town almost two years ago, debuts in theaters across the country today.
Ping Pong Summer is as retro as a pair of breakdancing pants. It's a funny coming-of-age story set in the 1980s, like a John Hughes classic, and it's got some big stars like Susan Sarandon, Amy Sedaris, and Lea Thompson leading a cast of otherwise unknown youth actors.
But what people in Ocean City like most about it, is that it's local. The film wasn't just shot in the resort; the town and many local businesses kicked in money to help get the film made.
Director Michael Tully says he knows the film can't compete with big-budget summer blockbusters, but he hopes people will be charmed by a story he says he's been working on for 20 years.
"I would love to see a small independent film do well and reach audiences," Tully says.
Tully calls the film his love letter to the place where he spent his summers growing up. When he was shopping the movie around at festivals, like Sundance in Utah or Rotterdam in Holland, it became apparent that Ping Pong Summer isn't just for people who have been to Maryland's largest summer destination.
"People will come up and say my Ocean City is blank—and they'd name their sort of resort town, whether it was a beach or a lake or something."
The film opens today in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Nashville, Dallas, Seattle, Toronto, Denver, and all over Maryland and Delaware—and locals here in Ocean City are hoping that Ping Pong Summer becomes the next coming-of-age cult classic.