8 Tips on How to Plan a Successful Outdoor Cinema Event

8 Tips on How to Plan a Successful Outdoor Cinema Event

Creating an unforgettable cinema experience

Hosting an outdoor cinema event can be an exciting and memorable experience for both you and your attendees. For someone planning an event, it’s not just about airing a film on a large screen; it’s about delivering an unforgettable, immersive experience that blends the magic of cinema with the charm of an open-air setting.

It required meticulous planning and thoughtful consideration of several aspects. From selecting the right venue to arranging the equipment and promoting the event effectively, there are several key factors to consider and in this article, we will provide you with eight valuable tips that will help you plan a successful outdoor cinema event.

Selecting the Venue

Choosing the right venue is one of key factors in determining the success of your outdoor cinema event. You should choose a venue that has sufficient space for your audience and all of the necessary equipment needed for a successful screening, including the projector, screen, and sound system.

The size of the venue is important, not only for ensuring that there is ample space for the audience and any equipment in use, but also for accessibility and amenities that may also be in attendance at your event. Think walkways through the crowd, bathroom facilities, food and drink stalls and appropriate parking, depending on the size of your event, of course!

Overcrowding can lead to discomfort, so ensure that there’s enough space for everyone to move around freely and enjoy the movie without feeling cramped.

The location of the venue is equally important. It should be easily accessible, with clear directions for attendees travelling by various modes of transport. A central location can help draw in more attendees, but even a more remote venue can work if it offers unique charm or character that enhances the cinema experience.

Select a Date, Time, and Weather

Selecting the right time and date is crucial to the success of your event. Likewise, ensuring that the event is held at the right time of the year to take advantage of weather trends is also a good idea. 

When selecting a date, taking into consideration other local events or holidays that occur at the same time as your planned date – these could impact attendance. You wouldn’t want to schedule your event at the same time as a major sports match or a local festival, which could divide your potential audience.

As for the time of the event, remember that it must be dark enough for the movie to be clearly visible on the screen. During the summer months, this may mean a later start time, while in the spring or autumn, you might be able to start earlier in the evening.

Ideally, we at CH Events have found that event organisers would want to host the event when the weather is most likely to be clear and pleasant, which in the UK is late spring to early autumn. This period of the year is typically a safe bet for outdoor activities, making it a popular time for outdoor cinema events.

However – we all know how unreliable British weather can be, so it is vital to monitor weather forecasts closely as the day of the event approaches! It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case of a turn in the weather, such as an alternate date or an indoor venue. At CH Events, we have worked hard to minimise the risk of weather interruption, ensuring that our equipment is waterproof – minimising the risk of weather interference.

What to Watch?

Selecting the right film for your outdoor cinema event is an art in itself. The movie you choose should ideally appeal to a broad range of tastes, ensuring that your event attracts a large and diverse audience. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the demographics of your expected attendees – their age, preferences, and cultural tastes can all influence the type of film they would enjoy.

You might want to consider current trending movies, particularly those that have been well-received by critics and audiences alike. These are likely to draw a crowd and generate buzz around your event. Likewise, it may also be worth considering classic movies, pulling on nostalgia and their wide appeal.


Securing the appropriate licences is a crucial step in planning an outdoor cinema event. Every movie that you screen publicly requires permission from the copyright holder. Ignoring this step can lead to legal repercussions, including hefty fines, so it’s essential to ensure you are fully compliant.

Luckily, when you book your event with CH Events, we can apply and secure your film licence for you, so you can focus on planning your event, without the added stress of licensing paperwork.

Arranging the Equipment

Hosting an outdoor cinema event involves organising a range of equipment to ensure a high-quality viewing experience. This includes choosing an appropriate screen and sound system, as well as a reliable source to play your chosen film.

The type of screen you select can significantly impact the viewer’s experience and depends largely on your budget. Options range from economical projector screens to top-tier LED screens that offer superior image quality. Whatever your budget, it’s crucial to select a screen that provides clear visibility for all attendees, no matter where they’re seated.

In addition to the screen, a robust sound system is vital to create an immersive cinema experience. You’ll require speakers that deliver clear, powerful audio throughout the venue. The film itself can be played from a variety of sources including a Blu-ray player, a laptop, or a DVD player.

While organising this equipment yourself is an option, for a seamless, stress-free event, we highly recommend considering professional assistance. This ensures you have access to the best available equipment and expertise, taking the hassle out of the process and allowing you to focus on other aspects of your event. Our team of experts is ready and waiting to guide you through all available options, including a comprehensive range of screen and speaker options. Moreover, they can provide tailored advice on the ideal screen size for your audience, ensuring that everyone has the best possible viewing experience.


Outdoor Cinema Hire, cinema hire, screen hire, pop up cinema hire, outdoor cinema hire, indoor cinema hire, projector hire

A well-planned logistical approach is key to a successful outdoor cinema event. From ensuring a smooth guest experience to coordinating the necessary facilities, every detail counts.

Time Schedule

A detailed schedule is essential. It should outline key timings such as guest arrival, film start and finish times, and allow time for pre-film activities and post-event cleanup.

Guest Arrival and Departure

Efficient guest management is crucial. Depending on the event size, you may need local traffic management. Clear signage and directions should be provided to guide guests.

Parking and Facilities

Ensure sufficient parking space and clean, accessible toilets. If facilities are inadequate, consider additional parking arrangements or hiring portable toilets.

Film Equipment Setup

Plan for setup and breakdown of the film equipment, allowing time for testing to ensure everything functions correctly.

Food and Drink

Coordinate with food and drink vendors, ensuring all necessary permits are obtained and waste management is in place.


Promote your event well in advance using various channels, including social media, local newspapers, and partnerships with local businesses.

Security and Emergency Plan

Consider security arrangements to ensure attendee safety. Have an emergency plan in place, covering first aid arrangements, evacuation procedures, and emergency service communication. In short, successful logistics planning guarantees a smooth, enjoyable, and safe experience for all attendees at your outdoor cinema event.

Selling Tickets and Arranging Attendees

Selling tickets and arranging attendees for an outdoor cinema event involves careful planning. Pricing tickets appropriately is vital, considering the costs of hosting the event, such as licensing fees, equipment rental, and venue costs. At the same time, ensure you’re offering value to your attendees. Think about offering concessionary prices for certain groups like students, seniors, or families to broaden your audience.

Choosing a reliable online ticketing platform is the next step, one that’s user-friendly and enables easy management of ticket sales. Such platforms often offer additional features like promotional codes, group discounts, and real-time sales tracking.

On the day, managing the flow of attendees to avoid overcrowding and ensure a straightforward and stress free experience. Having multiple entrances, a system for pre-booked seating, and staff or volunteers on hand to assist attendees can make a significant difference. In free-seating events, encourage early arrival for attendees to select their preferred spot. The aim is to ensure a seamless cinema experience from ticket purchase to the event’s end. 


Promotion is key to generating interest and attracting a sizable audience to your outdoor cinema event. Leverage various marketing channels, such as social media, email newsletters, local newspapers, and community bulletin boards, to create awareness about the event. If budget permits, consider using paid promotions to reach a wider audience, collaborating with local businesses or sponsors to enhance your event’s reach and visibility.

Remember, the key to successful promotion is to start early and maintain consistent messaging. By adopting a comprehensive promotional strategy, you can ensure that your outdoor cinema event reaches the maximum number of potential attendees.

Is Planning an Outdoor Cinema Event Too Much Hassle?

Planning an outdoor cinema event can seem like a daunting task.

However, hosting an outdoor cinema event is not just about overcoming these challenges. It’s about the opportunity to bring a community together, provide a platform for people to connect, and offer them a unique, enjoyable entertainment experience. It’s about the thrill of seeing a plan come together and watching a crowd immerse themselves in the magic of cinema under the stars.

By following the eight tips outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating a memorable movie experience for your attendees. If you have not considered all of the elements within this blog and think this is a little beyond your knowledge and experience, we are here to help you. We offer FREE event planning, FREE risk assessment templates and have a team of experts that put together outdoor events every day. Need help? Call us on 0330 9000 757 and we’ll be happy to assist you.