How to Throw a Drive In Movie Event in 10 Easy Steps

FunFlicks drive-in movie event at sunset

Do you want to throw a drive-in movie event but are unsure how to do so? We have helped customers across the nation throw outdoor movie parties since 2001 and are glad to guide you on how to throw a drive-in event with only 10 easy steps to follow. As long as you follow these easy steps, your drive-in party is sure to be a great time.

1. Evaluate Your Intentions and Target Audience

To begin planning your drive-in movie showing, evaluate why such an event would be beneficial for you and the community. Are you wanting to start your own drive-in theater business? Maybe you’re looking to gather people together in support of a good cause? There are countless reasons why a drive-in event is the perfect way to have fun with your community. Be sure to reflect on your decision as you follow our guide to see if such an event is the right choice for you. In order to throw a drive-in movie event that gathers a large crowd, you need to know the audience you’re catering towards. The movie and overall event theme should fully involve everyone. For instance, if you are wanting to gather families together during October, consider showing a family-friendly Halloween film. Tie everything together into an overall theme with festive invitations and decorate the area accordingly.

Finding the Best Movie

Conduct a poll on social media if you’re unsure what movie your audience will want to watch. Giving your audience the choice is a clever way to advertise your movie night and makes it fun for them to decide. We love movies and have a long list of many different types of film suggestions.

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2. Have the Right Equipment for a Drive-In

Having the right equipment is essential in order to throw your own drive-in movie event. A large display screen, an FM transmitter, a high-lumen projector, and other various audiovisual equipment are all needed. To get rid of the headache of having to purchase high-end equipment, learn how to use it properly, and store it in a safe location, we offer the best-quality drive-in theater equipment for rent all across the United States. Your local FunFlicks® event technicians will take care of setting everything up and taking it all down at the end of the night.

If providing the necessary equipment is difficult for you to do on your own, renting equipment is a great option.

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If purchasing equipment is something you’d prefer, we also offer equipment available to buy. For your drive-in, choose us for the best audiovisual equipment!

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3. Choose a Suitable Location for a Drive-In

The location of your drive-in should be large enough to fit both the expected number of vehicles attending and the audiovisual equipment. We recommend creating a blueprint to map out the screen equipment in relation to the expected number of cars parked next to each other. The two best locations to host your drive-in event are either a parking lot or a large field. Be mindful of how your audiovisual equipment will be powered in such an area; at least two separate power circuits or a powerful enough generator can be used to power our equipment. If you’re unsure about how to provide the necessary electricity, read our guide, "How to Power an Outdoor Movie Screen." Be sure to ask permission to hold your event in an area that is not on your own property. Also, follow your local noise ordinances to avoid any fines or problems with your neighbors.

Click Here to Learn How to Power an Outdoor Movie Screen

4. Plan the Best Date and Time to Show Your Movie

Hold your event on a Friday or Saturday night for the highest turnout. People tend to be most free on these days thus resulting in more people arriving to your event. Another thing to be aware of when planning the best date and time for your drive-in movie showing is weather. Winds above 15 mph, rain, or snow are all conditions that can damage audiovisual equipment and risk the safety of you and your guests at a drive-in. If you are renting equipment from us, we offer free weather-related rescheduling on the morning of your event day. When choosing the date for your event, do so at least 2 weeks in advance so that you have enough time to properly advertise and prepare.

5. Invite Your Guests

After all of the initial planning steps have been completed, it’s time to let people know about your drive-in movie event. The best way to advertise your party is through social media. Create invitational graphics that clearly reflect the theme, movie being played, event date, start time, location, ticket fees, and any other important details that you feel your guests should know. Posts should be made leading up to the movie night to build excitement and spread the word before your event.

Cars parked in front of an inflatable movie screen at a FunFlicks drive-in

6. Prepare the Area for a Drive-In

Before cars arrive, make sure that there are clean and open restrooms in the vicinity, as well as trash cans placed sporadically throughout the area. Create a clear pathway for cars to enter when arriving at your event. The area should be made visible by using signs, safety cones, or caution tape. A parameter should be set around the area if you want to regulate who enters. If you wish to have a pay-upon-entry system, set up a booth at the entrance of the premises where cars can buy tickets or verify ones that were bought prior. We recommend opening a mobile payment service such as Venmo or Cashapp for those who wish to pay digitally. After a car has entered the area, have parking instructors guide it into a designated parking space. Parking instructors will greatly help in keeping things organized and spaces filled correctly.

7. Clearly Advertise the Radio Channel

It’s very important to let guests know the radio station to tune into in order for them to hear the movie in their vehicle. Our event hosts will find the best FM channel in your area that is clear to hear and which does not conflict with surrounding FM waves. We recommend having a graphic available to display that can be easily edited on your laptop. If you do not have the resources to create a graphic, let us know prior to your event. We may be able to help you make one before the movie night.

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8. Entertain Your Guests Before the Movie

Build up the anticipation by playing music before the movie. Not only will this enhance the surrounding atmosphere, but it will also encourage guests to tune in to the drive-in radio channel before the movie starts. We recommend creating a playlist before your event with songs that tie into the overall theme of the movie night. Or, simply ask your event technician to play songs that you like. Every party needs a little music. Once more people have arrived and the movie start time is drawing near, consider displaying upcoming film trailers for future events you may have planned, advertisements from sponsors, or important announcements. All of these ideas can be easily displayed onto the big screen from your laptop.

9. Play the Movie

After the cars have arrived, the sun has set, and everyone is feeling ready, it’s time to finally start the movie. Turn off any surrounding lights that may dilute the projection brightness for optimum viewing. This includes car lights or lamp posts. Along with turning off lights, you should make sure that sprinkler systems are turned off if your drive-in is on a field. The less unwanted distractions there are, the more your guests will be fully involved in watching the film and having a good time. To make their time at the drive-in even better, have vendors in the area sell popcorn and treats. You can set up a booth or have them walk by the sides of cars holding snacks. Selling food at your drive-in is a great opportunity to raise money. Today, concessions account for about 40% of a movie theater’s net revenue.

10. Safely Escort Cars off the Property and Clean-Up

Once the movie is over and cars are ready to leave, have parking instructors safely guide vehicles out of the area and thank your guests for visiting your drive-in. The last step of your drive-in is to clean-up. Collect any leftover garbage and take down any remaining equipment. If you’re renting with us, our event technicians will pack up all audiovisual equipment and will even assist in cleaning the area if help is needed. It’s important to leave the property the way you found it so that future events can be held there.

Event Rentals for Your Drive-In Movie Night

FunFlicks® Inflatable Movie Screen Rentals

Inflatable movie screen rental drive-in

FunFlicks® inflatable movie screens are professional quality at an affordable price. There's a size for everyone, whether you're throwing a massive film festival with thousands in attendance or a small birthday with family at your house. To make sure everything runs smoothly, a local FunFlicks® event technician will arrive at your location on time, set up the screen, oversee the technology, and pack it all away at the end of the screening. Booming high-definition sound, crystal-clear laser projection, and a larger-than-life display are all included when you book an event with us.

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Backyard 16'
12'x7' Display
100 Guests
20 Cars

Premiere 21'
16'x9' Display
250 Guests
50 Cars

Blockbuster 26'
20'x12' Display
500 Guests
75 Cars

Elite 32'
26'x15' Display
750 Guests
100 Cars

Epic 40'
30'x17' Display
1500 Guests
150 Cars

Xtreme 50'
40'x22' Display
3000 Guests
250 Cars

FunFlicks® LED Screen Rentals

LED screen rental event among palm trees

FunFlicks LED screens are perfect for day or night display in almost any environment. Utilizing electroluminescent technology, our LED screens generate light effectively at any time of day. Each panel is rated IP65, meaning they are both rain and dustproof. Day or night, rain or shine, you get to decide when the magic happens. All of our mobile LED trailers have onboard generators for portable power. Therefore, no power supply is needed. Similar to our inflatable screens, our fleet of LED screens comes in a variety of dimensions for a variety of crowd sizes. Local event technicians across the country are available to bring our LED trailers anywhere for you to enjoy video games, live sports, movies, advertisements, or almost everything else!

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8'x5' LED Trailer
75 Guests
15 Cars

12'x7' LED Trailer
100 Guests
20 Cars

15'x8' LED Trailer
250 Guests
50 Cars

17'x10' LED Trailer
500 Guests
75 Cars

23'x13' LED Trailer
750 Guests
100 Cars

FunFlicks customers get 10% Off Movie Licensing through Movie Night Ministries!

Movie Night Ministries is a family-oriented organization whose ultimate goal is to provide excellent, newly released movies directly to communities throughout the United States.

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