How to Host an Outdoor Movie Night in 10 Steps

FunFlicks outdoor movie party

If you want to organize an unforgettable event that brings people together, consider hosting an outdoor movie party. For tips on how to host an outdoor movie night, this unique activity lets guests enjoy the great outdoors while immersing themselves in an exceptional cinematic experience, creating a special atmosphere for the entire audience. It's a budget-friendly option suitable for any crowd size, from small backyard gatherings to massive community drive-ins.

As the nation’s largest outdoor movie provider, FunFlicks® has decades of experience hosting thousands of these events. By following our comprehensive guide, you can effortlessly hold your own spectacular movie night, ensuring a memorable evening for everyone.

1) Form a Coordination Team

Assembling a cohesive event coordination team is crucial for hosting a successful movie party. Start by identifying key roles: head coordinator, financial controller, marketing lead, ticket sales operators, concession workers, security personnel, and the clean-up crew. Clearly defining these positions ensures that each aspect of the event is managed effectively. Regular meetings should be scheduled before the event to brainstorm ideas, address concerns, and clarify responsibilities. This collaborative approach fosters improved event planning, ultimately contributing to a seamless and enjoyable movie party experience.

4 Outdoor Movie Party Tips for Planning

  • Calculate all expenses, including movie screen rental, vendors, licensing, snacks, decorations, and any other potential costs, then consider partnering with sponsors to offset these expenses.
  • Maximize revenue for the event by selling tickets both onsite and through online pre-orders.
  • Hosting your event on Friday or Saturday nights is ideal since people generally have more availability, increasing the likelihood of attendance.
  • Avoid scheduling your outdoor movie party on a day with rain or high winds. Luckily, with FunFlicks®, your event is free to reschedule in case of bad weather.

2) Find a Suitable Venue

When choosing the best location for an outdoor movie party, it's essential to find a spot with ample room for the expected crowd size, audiovisual equipment, and any additional vendors. Knowing an estimate of how many will be in attendance helps determine the necessary space and the appropriate screen size for the event. Ensure the movie theater equipment can be set up on a flat surface for optimal performance. If you're renting an outdoor movie screen, make sure you have sufficient electricity. You'll need enough outlets from separate power sources or a powerful generator. Additionally, it's important to have amenities such as restrooms and parking available on site.

Where to Throw an Outdoor Movie Party

When selecting a location, be sure to ask for permission if it’s not your property and obtain any necessary permits for your event.

FunFlicks outdoor movie screening at the park

The Park

Your local park is an excellent place to host an outdoor movie party with plenty of space and accessibility for a large audience. It's a prime location for the community to come together surrounded by natural scenery as they enjoy a special cinema experience under the stars.

  • The open areas and flat surfaces found in most parks are ideal for setting up a projector movie screen and provide excellent acoustics for sound.
  • With amenities like restrooms, trash cans, and tables typically available, event coordinators can easily ensure convenience for the audience at a park.
  • The park is usually a well-known, central spot within the community, making it easy for guests to find the party.
  • The ambiance of a summer night, accompanied by the gentle chirping of crickets and lush greenery enveloping the park, makes it an incredible location.
  • Guests may easily find parking lots and spaces for vehicles that are often available at the park.
FunFlicks drive-in movie party in a parking lot

Parking Lot

With its existing parking spaces, flat surfaces, and spacious layout, a parking lot provides a fantastic setting for a classic drive-in movie night.

  • With access to established parking spaces, coordinators can easily guide vehicles into spots, creating the perfect setting for an epic drive-in or any outdoor movie night.
  • Drive-in movie nights are perfect year-round, offering guests the option to stay warm in the comfort of their own vehicles during winter and cool off with air conditioning in the summer heat.
  • Parking lots can accommodate large crowds and are suitable for a wide range of events, from giant drive-in screenings to intimate golf cart drive-ins.
  • Certain parking lots may have nearby restrooms and restaurants, providing added convenience for the audience.
  • Most parking lots are equipped with lamp posts, ensuring that vehicles can safely exit the area, and facilitating more efficient cleanup once the event concludes.
FunFlicks outdoor movie party on a sports field

Sports Field

Sports fields provide ample space for both the audience and audiovisual equipment and are commonly found at schools, local parks, and stadiums, with many offering bleacher seating.

  • Grassy fields provide a comfortable setting for the audience to lay down on blankets or sit and enjoy the movie on the big screen.
  • The flat terrain of a sports field is ideal for setting up an inflatable movie screen or accommodating an LED trailer.
  • Turning on sports field floodlights before and after the movie allows guests to safely navigate the area.
  • Many sports fields are equipped with restrooms, concession booths, trash cans, and bleacher seating, all of which enhance the audience experience.
  • Sports fields typically have nearby parking spaces, ensuring convenient access for attendees.
FunFlicks backyard movie party


If you're looking to host a small party with friends and family, the backyard is a great cost-effective location for an outdoor movie night, offering convenience and easy customization.

  • With an event on your private property, there's no need to purchase a non-theatrical movie license or obtain permits required for a public location.
  • Hosting a party in your backyard eliminates the need for travel, saving both time and money.
  • Having access to the kitchen, trash cans, and restrooms at home makes throwing a backyard movie party convenient.
  • A movie night in the backyard provides a safe and controlled setting for children to enjoy the party.
  • When throwing a movie party in the backyard, complete customization is in your hands, allowing you to decorate the area and arrange the setting as you wish.
FunFlicks movie party in a university gymnasium


Hosting a movie party in a gymnasium provides year-round access to a facility with a perfect flat surface for audiovisual equipment, bleacher seating, restrooms, and other amenities.

  • The climate-controlled setting of a gymnasium eliminates concerns about bad weather or high winds canceling the movie party.
  • Gymnasiums are likely to have ample power to support a movie theater setup, eliminating the need to rent a generator.
  • The controlled setting of an indoor gymnasium provides a safe, controlled environment for keeping children secure and limiting access to ticket holders.
  • Ample seating for large crowds, as well as onsite restrooms and concession booths for added convenience, are typical of gymnasiums.
  • Gymnasiums are generally easy to locate, commonly situated at the heart of schools, universities, or community centers.

3) Rent Outdoor Movie Services

For professional-quality audiovisual rental services at an affordable price, your local FunFlicks® is the perfect choice. We provide the complete movie screen rental package, and our trained event technicians will handle assembly, management, and takedown at your location, ensuring an easy and enjoyable experience for all.

Hawaiian luau themed party for 100 people

4) Choose a Theme

Enhance your party with an engaging theme that captivates your audience. A thoughtfully selected theme will weave into every detail, creating an unforgettable outdoor movie experience for your guests. Incorporate tiki torches, hanging lanterns, seafood, shark costumes, and a screening of Jaws (1975) to bring a summer poolside movie party to life.

5) Pick a Movie

When selecting the perfect film for your outdoor movie party, choose one that matches the evening's theme or let the audience decide. Conducting an online poll allows guests to have a say while creatively marketing the event. Consider the audience demographics, group tastes, time of year, and the nature of the event in order to find the best film that the audience will love.

Oldies But Goodies

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Our Most Popular Films of 2023

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Movie Licensing

To show most movies in public spaces such as parks, schools, or businesses, you need proper licensing. This requires a nontheatrical movie license to show films publicly in the United States. Purchasing a license grants you the right to screen the movie to a public audience. To check if your desired film is available for licensing, visit the FunFlicks® Movie Licensing page.

6) Plan Activities

The fun doesn't have to wait for the movie to begin. We can help bring your pre-movie activities to life with a variety of options, including a video game tournament, karaoke competition, dance party, trivia challenge, or even a double feature. These engaging activities ensure that your guests are entertained from the moment they arrive, creating a memorable experience long before the opening credits roll.

7) Market the Event

Spread the word about your event using a combination of advertisements and personalized invitations, tailored to the size of your party. For a backyard movie party, send out individual invitations to each guest, clearly stating the address, start time, theme, and other essential details. For a large drive-in movie showing at the beach, use social media campaigns, physical posters, online targeted ads, and newspaper announcements. Social media is one of the best methods to promote your event; design eye-catching graphics that highlight the theme, location, start time, admission fee, and other key information. Download our free promotional material or request custom graphics to advertise your party and decorate the event location.

When to Host an Outdoor Movie Party

Starting your outdoor movie party 15 minutes after sunset ensures optimal viewing conditions. As darkness falls, the projection becomes clearer around the screen, enhancing the cinematic experience. A cool summer evening with clear skies and a gentle breeze creates the perfect ambiance for outdoor entertainment. These ideal conditions are typically experienced during the summer months, providing a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere for your guests to relax and enjoy the movie under the stars.

What to Bring to an Outdoor Movie Party

For an outdoor movie party, bring essentials like a blanket or lawn chair, bug repellent, a flashlight, extra blankets, and plenty of water and snacks. Prepare according to the forecast, wearing plenty of layers if temperatures are set to drop after sunset.

8) Prepare the Area

Before guests arrive, decorate the area to create a cozy atmosphere. Use dim lighting like Christmas lights, market lights, lanterns, candles, torches, and campfires; they enhance the ambiance without washing out the screen. If charging admission, ensure the ticket booth is well-organized with staff ready. The same applies to concession stands, vendor booths, security guards, and volunteers—make sure everyone is in place and prepared to make the event run smoothly. This preparation ensures a seamless and enjoyable experience for all attendees.

What To Do Before Your Outdoor Movie Night

  1. Survey the site for potential hazards, including debris or obstacles that may pose tripping risks in pedestrian pathways
  2. Take precise measurements of the space to confirm suitability for screen placement, accounting for potential obstructions like hanging branches or lights
  3. Pick up the dog poop
  4. Turn off your sprinklers
  5. Check for power
  6. Locate your breaker box
  7. Lock away pets
  8. Turn off any surrounding bright lights before the movie
  9. Disable motion activated lights
  10. Ensure convenient parking arrangements for your outdoor movie technicians, prioritizing proximity to the setup location for efficient operations.
  11. Enjoy the evening!

9) Serve Food & Drinks

Outdoor Movie Party Snacks

Popcorn bags at an outdoor movie party


There's nothing like snacking on fresh, buttery popcorn while getting lost in a great movie. FunFlicks® provides excellent quality kernels, popped and served onsite.

Creme de la Crumb’s Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza



▢ 1 ¾-2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
▢ 1 envelope Fleischmann's® RapidRise® Instant Yeast
▢ 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
▢ ¾ teaspoon salt
▢ ⅔ cup very warm water - (120-130º F)
▢ 3 tablespoons oil


▢ ½ cup pizza sauce
▢ 4 ounces mozzarella cheese - sliced or torn into 1-inch pieces
▢ ½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence - or Italian seasoning blend
▢ 2 tomatoes - thinly sliced
▢ 2-3 tablespoons balsamic glaze - store-bought OR see below for recipe
▢ fresh basil
▢ coarse sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Balsamic Glaze

▢ 1 cup balsamic vinegar
▢ 4 tablespoons honey
▢ ¼ teaspoon salt

Click Here to Follow Creme de la Crumb’s Recipe

Creme de la Crumb’s Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad


▢ 1 pound cheese tortellini pasta - (either fresh, or dried – cooked according to package’s instructions)
▢ 1 cup cherry tomatoes - halved
▢ ½ red onion - diced
▢ 1 large cucumber - peeled and chopped
▢ ½ cup canned artichoke hearts - roughly chopped
▢ ½ cup kalamata olives - (whole or sliced)
▢ ½ cup crumbled feta cheese - (I use reduced fat)
▢ ⅓ cup packed fresh basil leaves - finely chopped

Greek Dressing

▢ ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
▢ ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
▢ 1 tablespoon minced garlic
▢ 1 teaspoon dried oregano
▢ 1 teaspoon dried basil
▢ ½ teaspoon dried thyme
▢ 2 teaspoons sugar
▢ 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
▢ ½ teaspoon salt - or to taste
▢ black pepper - to taste
▢ juice of ½ lemon

Click Here to Follow Creme de la Crumb’s Recipe

10) Clean Up the Area

As the night winds down and guests start departing, express gratitude by personally thanking them for attending. Once they've left, enlist a cleanup crew to ensure the area is tidied up, ensuring all trash is gathered and properly disposed of. Preserve the integrity of the space, particularly if it's not your own, to build a favorable reputation as a conscientious host for future gatherings.

How to Host an Outdoor Movie Night During Summer

Transforming an outdoor movie screening into a seamless summer affair involves a few key elements. Begin by scheduling the event for after sunset to escape the heat. Provide ample shade using tarps and strategically placed umbrellas to create comfortable viewing areas. It's crucial to offer an abundance of refreshments, including cool water and beverages, to keep everyone hydrated and refreshed. Integrate cooling fans throughout the space to ensure a pleasant atmosphere despite the summer temperatures.

For an added thrill, consider elevating the experience with a pool party twist, inviting guests to swim while enjoying the cinematic entertainment. This fusion of outdoor cinema and poolside relaxation promises an unforgettable evening of summer enjoyment for all attendees.

It's Summer Time

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How to Host an Outdoor Movie Night During Fall

Embrace the charm of autumn by hosting an outdoor movie party, blending beloved fall pastimes like apple bobbing and pumpkin carving with the backdrop of falling leaves and the inviting scent of freshly baked pumpkin pie. As dusk settles in, delight the kids with a family-friendly Halloween flick, followed by a classic horror film for the adults. This festive fusion promises an unforgettable evening of entertainment for guests of all ages.


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Cult Classics

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How to Host an Outdoor Movie Night During Spring

Spring provides the perfect backdrop for an outdoor movie gathering, with its perfect temperature and an audience ready to embrace outdoor activities after a winter hiatus. Nevertheless, if rain clouds appear on the horizon, it's advisable to consider postponing the event to another weekend. This flexibility guarantees that attendees can wholeheartedly engage in the festivities without the disruption of unfavorable weather, ultimately enhancing their enjoyment of the experience.

How to Host an Outdoor Movie Night During Winter

Create a cozy ambiance at your outdoor movie gathering by arranging heaters and providing steaming cups of hot cocoa or coffee for your guests. Embrace beloved seasonal pastimes such as marveling at Christmas lights and spreading joy through caroling, cultivating lasting memories and a festive spirit that embodies the essence of winter.


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Event Rentals for Your Outdoor 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.

Click Here to Find Your Local FunFlicks®

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

Purchase Movie Licensing with Angel Studios for your FunFlicks Event!

Angel Studios, a premier independent media enterprise and film distribution powerhouse, is dedicated to seamlessly delivering outstanding, freshly released, and family-centered entertainment to communities across the United States.