The Ultimate Guide To A Perfect Backyard Movie Night

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When we think of movie nights, the first thing that pops into our head may be movie theaters, followed by Netflix maybe.

But have you ever thought of recreating the best drive-in in your backyard?

Instead of squeezing yourselves in a crowded cinema, why not build your own outdoor cinema and enjoy the romantic night with full privacy from your sweet home?

Here in this post, you will find everything you need for a perfect backyard movie night with your sweetheart. 

You can easily turn it into a movie-themed backyard party for the whole family as well! 

Ready for it? Let’s do it!

1. The Seating

When it comes to seating, especially a date night for two, it’s not necessary to go over-the-top and turn your backyard into a summer carnival. It’s all about being comfy and romantic.
Grab all your favorite blankets, pillows and rugs and lie them down on the ground. Let your artist side do the rest and explore the possibilities!

To make it more comfortable or to create a bedroom-like setting, you can also put out your air mattress or an inflatable pull-out sofa.

Cover it with rugs and your make-out blanket. This cozy outdoor theatre will definitely spice things up for the night.

2. Setting Up Your Screen

There are 3 ways you can set up a screen for your backyard movie night:

3 Ways to set up your own backyard movie screen

- Using the white wall of your house

If you have a white wall of the house facing the backyard and there is enough blank space, just use it as a screen.

Plain and simple, no set-up required.

- Buy an outdoor movie screen

Using a profession screen, you and your spouse will have a better viewing experience and it takes less time to set up.

There are different types of screen and the prices vary greatly depending on the size.

For a date night of two, a screen of 100”-120” should be enough and shouldn’t cost more than $80.

Here’s one that’s on sale from time to time. If you can get it under $40, that’s a great deal.

Movie screen buying guide- choose the perfect one for your own backyard cinema - todaywedate.com

If you have a huge backyard or want to use the screen for backyard parties or pool parties as well, go for a 10-16ft inflatable screen. 

It will turn your backyard into a real drive-in theatre without taking up too much space to store. This one is a good choice and it comes with printable movie tickets as well! 

- DIY your own movie screen

If you don’t have a white wall in the backyard, and don’t want to spend too much on a date night, DIYing your own screen can be a great option.

☑︎ How to DIY your outdoor movie screen?
 Things you will need: a white blanket / 2 pvc pipe / tape / hot glue / quick cement /  water / wood rods / 2 planters / hooks /
How long will it take: 45 min approximately
Step 1– Fill the 2 planters with quick cement. Place the wood rods into the planter.
Step 2- Stabilize the rods with tape. Make sure they stay vertical to the ground.
Step 3– Mix the cement with water and wait 30 minutes for it to harden.
Step 4– Iron the white sheet and remove all the wrinkles.
Step 5– Cut it to the size you want.
Step 6– Glue the edge with the PVC pipe using a glue gun.
Step 7– Roll the top and bottom of the sheet with the pipe and wait for it to dry.
Step 8– Screw hooks into the top of both rods.
Step 9– Put the pipe onto the hooks.
Step 10– Decorate the planters as you wish.
Et voilà, you have your very own movie screen ready for the show.
Here’s a full video tutorial:

3. The Projector

If you want to create the perfect backyard movie cinema, it’s recommended to use a projector instead of a TV.

You will be able to revisit that very first drive-in date with your Significant Other. Plus, you won’t need to drag the cables or wires and pull your TV all the way to the garden.

The projector can also be used for playing funny family footage at Christmas party and family gatherings. How fun is that!

Before buying a projector for your own backyard cinema, here are a few things to consider:

How to choose a projector for home?

1. Compatibility

The key function of a projector is to play the show.
If you are using Amazon Fire TV Stick, you will not want a projector that can only play DVD. So before choosing the projector, you should be clear what kind of media you are playing.

It’s also better to get the ones with an HDMI port. Most devices can now connect with HDMI cable directly or with an adapter. And you will get the best resolution as well.

2. Brightness

One basic parameter of a home projector is the lumens. It’s an indicator of how much light the projector can put out. The bigger the number, the brighter the picture. 

Projectors with lumens lower than 2000 are usually used in offices where space is smaller and lights can be dimmed all dark. 

But for an open space, you will want to go for 2000 at least and aim for 3000 so you will still be able to enjoy the vibrant colors and clear vision even when it is not completely dark.

3. Aspect Ratio

There are two major aspect ratios of projectors in the market today: 16:9 and 4:3. 

The 4:3 ratio is usually used in tv broadcast while most movies today are in 16:9 ratio. So make sure the projector you choose is in 16:9 if you are looking for the best outdoor movie night experience. 

Some new models on the market support both of the two ratios, which provide a bigger flexibility for the experience.

4. Price

A theatre-class projector can range between $1000 and $8000 or even more. 

If you are on a budget, start by asking if the local stores for a rental. Renting a good-quality projector would be $50-$100 per day. 

But if you want to make your backyard movie night one of your regular dates or a family activity, investing one for your own is a better option.

Keep a close eye on sale, you can find some great ones under $200 on Amazon.

4. The Movie

Picking the right movie for the night is crucial. After all, it’s the key of the night. You would not want to go for anything that’s long and boring for anyone of you.

If you don’t already have your fav in mind, the Ranker has put together a list of best date night movies of all time voted by 40,000 people.

You may find yours as well! Now let’s dig in!

★ Got one to share? Leave a comment down below!

  • Dirty Dancing (1987)  /  Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach
  • Pretty Woman (1990)  /  Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Hank Azaria
  • Notting Hill  (1999)  /  Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Mischa Barton
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993)  /  Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Rosie O’Donnell
  • Casablanca (1942)  /  Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre
  • Love Actually (2003)  /  Keira Knightley, Elisha Cuthbert, Liam Neeson
  • When Harry Met Sally…  (1989)  /  Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher
  • The Notebook  (2004)  /  Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner
  • The Princess Bride  (1987)  /  Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, André the Giant
  • You’ve Got Mail (1998)  /  Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Sara Ramirez
  • Forrest Gump  (1994)  /  Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Sally Field
  • Grease    (1978)  /  John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing
  • Ghost    (1990)  /  Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Swayze
  • 10 Things I Hate About You    (1999)  /  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gabrielle Union, Heath Ledger
  • Chocolat    (2000)  /  Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina
  • An Affair to Remember    (1957)  /  Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Richard Denning
  • 50 First Dates (2004)  /  Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Dan Aykroyd
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding    (1997)  /  Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti
  • The Proposal    (2009)  /  Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind    (2004)  /  Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey
  • Serendipity    (2001)  /  Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack, Bridget Moynahan
  • Pretty in Pink (1986)  /  James Spader, Gina Gershon, Molly Ringwald
  • Sixteen Candles    (1984)  /  John Cusack, Molly Ringwald, Joan Cusack
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love.    (2011)  /  Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling
  • A Walk to Remember    (2002)  /  Mandy Moore, Marisa Miller, Daryl Hannah
  • Pride & Prejudice    (2005)  /  Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Judi Dench
  • Sweet Home Alabama    (2002)  /  Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Dakota Fanning
  • Titanic (1997)  /  Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates
  • The Holiday    (2006)  /  Lindsay Lohan, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet
  • The Wedding Singer (1998)  /  Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days    (2003)  /  Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Bebe Neuwirth
  • Lady and the Tramp    (1955)  /  Peggy Lee, Stan Freberg, Dallas McKennon
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith    (2005)  /  Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Morrison
  • Pitch Perfect  (2012)  /  Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow
  • Jerry Maguire    (1996)  /  Tom Cruise, Lucy Liu, Renée Zellweger
  • Never Been Kissed    (1999)  /  Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, James Franco
  • (500) Days of Summer    (2009)  /  Zooey Deschanel, Minka Kelly, Chloë Grace Moretz
  • Overboard    (1987)  /  Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Roddy McDowall
  • Sense and Sensibility    (1995)  /  Kate Winslet, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson
  • Say Anything…  (1989)  /  John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Joan Cusack
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary    (2001)  /  Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas    (2006)  /  Paul Reubens, Catherine O’Hara, Danny Elfman
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral    (1994)  /  Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Rowan Atkinson
  • Amélie    (2001)  /  Audrey Tautou, Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett
  • Moulin Rouge!    (2001)  /  Nicole Kidman, Ozzy Osbourne, Kylie Minogue
  • About Time    (2013)  /  Rachel McAdams, Margot Robbie, Bill Nighy
  • Romancing the Stone    (1984)  /  Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas
  • Ever After    (1998)  /  Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott
  • The American President    (1995)  /  Annette Bening, Michael J. Fox, Michael Douglas
  • An Officer and a Gentleman    (1982)  /  Richard Gere, Debra Winger, Louis Gossett

5. Adding More Fun

To make your backyard movie nights even better, here are a few things you can add:

– Decor with lights

– Snacks

– Friends & Family!

That’s right. Your movie night will get even better when inviting your friends and family.

Kids will be obsessed with your creativity and you will be enjoying a fun night with the ones you love in the warm summer breeze. How cool is that!

So here you go. Now you have everything you need to create the best outdoor movie night or throw an awesome backyard summer party!

Let’s get on to it and don’t forget to comment and share with us with your date night!

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