Do you really need a valid reason to watch a movie in the comfort of your own backyard? Of course not! My family and I never need an excuse to have a backyard movie night with us typically having a couple of nights each week over the summer.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to backyard movies or just starting out, you can always find a good reason to get outdoors and watch a film.
In truth, as long as the weather is good, and you’ve got friends and family ready on speed dial then just get out there and have some fun.
If you have never watched a movie outdoors at home before then I can almost guarantee that once you start, you will get the bug for it for the rest of your life. If you actually don’t know where to start then go take a look at my guides to what you need.
Once your screen, projector, player, and movie are set up then there are no more excuses, but just in case you do need some, here they are.
1: Summertime: What Better Reason Could There Be?
The Fresh Prince one wisely said “Summer, summer, summertime, time to sit back and unwind” and what better place to do so than in your own backyard?
I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold I don’t even bother going outback. But when the hot month’s return and summer is finally here again, you can’t stop me from spending time outdoors.
I’ve got amazing memories and nostalgia from when my own father used to show backyard movies on balmy summer nights. I hope my kids will have similar nostalgic thoughts as they grow older.
Invest in an outdoor movie set-up, invite your friends and family, let the kids stay up a little later, and make the most of the summertime. The memories will live on for years.
2. It Could Save You Money on Going to the Movies
With the average price of an American and Canadian movie ticket costing $8.65* (and £7.41 in the UK) in 2016, the costs can soon add up when taking a family to the movie theater.
For a family of 5, you could be looking at having spent over $40, and that’s before you’ve even bought refreshments.
If you already have everything you need to set up a backyard movie, then it’s a no-brainer idea for a cheap evening. All you need to do is supply the snacks and drinks and you’re all set.
That’s the beauty of having an outdoor projector and screen, as once you have it, it’s something that you can do over, and over again. If you don’t have the set-up yet, take a look at my gear recommendations so you can get started.
3. You Can Celebrate a Classic Movie Release or Reboot
I am at the age now where the movies from my youth are being re-made and re-booted (I hate that term!).
In 2010, Sony Pictures re-made Karate Kid; don’t bother watching it, it’s awful. What my family did though was celebrate the classic movie at the time the new 2010 version was released. We invited all of our friends over for a nostalgic viewing of the original Ralph Maccio version (the original and the best).
Our guests all got into the mood with Karate Kid-themed fancy dresses. We had a couple of very good Mister Miyagi’s.
Comment to movie producers: Back to the Future is perfect, please don’t re-boot it!
4. Have Fun with a Themed Movie Nights and Fancy Dress
Our Karate Kid movie night was the first of many themed backyard movies that we put on that summertime. We also put on themed nights for Back to the Future, Star Wars, and Despicable Me (we had 10 kids dressed as Minions, it was hilarious).
Don’t just stop at the fancy dress element though. You can also theme the night further with snacks and food that suit the movie (sushi for Jaws?), and decorate your backyard appropriately to add an element of authenticity.
If you want some ideas on which movies are really well-suited for an outdoor movie night, take a look at my top 10 list.
5. It Can Bring Family Members Together
Backyard movies are a great excuse to get people together. It’s a social experience for all ages and can be a time when family members are able to catch up.
My own family is spread all across the state, with some further afield. I plan an annual movie night over the summer every year, and send out the invites 6 months in advance so I can get as many family members committed to coming as possible.
It truly is a great way to get people together where you can catch up, talk, spend quality time reminiscing, and even meet new additions to the family you might not have met before.
6. It’s a Date Night Where You Don’t Need a Babysitter
If you struggle to spend quality time with your spouse or partner, then a backyard movie can be a great way for you to spend a date night – with no need to spend money on a babysitter.
Watching the sun go down on a summer’s evening, and then lying back to watch a movie in the dark with your loved one is a great experience.
Even if you don’t have kids, an outdoor movie is still a very romantic way in which you can spend a summer’s evening. I’ve put together a list of the best romantic movie choices which are ideal for viewing outside on a date night.
7. They Work Really Well as Summer Birthday Parties
One of our kids has their birthday over the summer, and we always put on a backyard movie night for her and her friends.
It’s much more unique and personal than your standard kid’s birthday parties, and also lets us have their parents over at the same time. The kids all take care of themselves whilst we all sit in the background having a few drinks.
Any age of person celebrating a birthday can do the same thing though. We’ve also put on outdoor movie parties for other occasions such as anniversaries, moving away parties, and graduations. It’s limitless as to what you can celebrate really.
As you can tell, I rarely need an excuse!
8. The Novelty Factor Never Seems to Wear Off
Honestly, watching movies outdoors never seems to lose its appeal and novelty factor. It’s not like people drag their TVs out back all the time to watch films, is it? Not that I do that, we always use a set-up including projector and screen, but I digress…
Watching a movie in your backyard is an unusual and special event that people of all ages will enjoy. When else can you lie back on the grass, look up at the stars, and watch a movie with people that you care about?
9. You Can Watch Movies in a Large Screen Format
Movies are made to be watched on large screens, and unfortunately, you probably don’t have a massive TV screen in your home unless you’re lucky enough to have an indoor movie theater set up.
Throwing an outdoor movie party in the summer gives you and your guests the chance to watch movies at the scale they were designed to be viewed at, or at the very least very close to that size in a large widescreen format.
Even the smallest and most affordable outdoor movie screens are at least 10-foot wide, offering an amazing visual experience. If you want to buy an inflatable outdoor movie screen of this size for less than $150 then see my recommended product for those working on a cheap budget.
10: It Will Bring Back Nostalgic Memories of the Drive-In
Did you ever go to drive-in movies as a kid or teenager? I know I did, and whilst I no longer do that as the ones near to me have closed down, my own backyard movie parties are as close to that experience as I can possibly get.
Whilst the sights, sounds, and smells won’t quite be the same, watching a movie in my backyard still takes me back to some of the best memories I have of my youth. We even set up a popcorn bar – take a look at some food and snack suggestions here.
11. You Can Bring Your Community Together
Not all backyard movies need to just be about friends and family. A well-run and organized night can also be a fantastic community event for your block or neighborhood.
Movies can bring people together as I’ve already mentioned, and watching a film together with a group of people is a great way to get conversations started and it can help to break down barriers.
When we moved into a new town ten years ago, we waited until the summer and then organized an outdoor movie night at our place for our 10 closest neighboring families.
That night was the start of something special for us and has created long-lasting bonds between us and the people who live in our street. Some of them had never even spoken to each other before until our movie night!
Another benefit to this is that we’ve never had a complaint from our neighbors about watching movies in our backyard, and think a lot of that is due to that initial invite and the relationships we manage to build with them as a result.
Want to Throw Your Own Backyard Movie Night?
If these reasons to put on a summertime outdoor movie party have whetted your appetite and you want to get started yourself, then go take a look at my recommended set-ups. In there you can find guides and products that will let you plan your own event no matter what your budget.
For example, there are ideas on budget screens and projectors you can buy, and also information on how to run a backyard movie night for less than $400 all-in.