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How to Create an Outdoor Cinema in Your Own Backyard

EllisPark.co August 16, 2021
Man and two women watching outdoor movie

Watching movies – especially summer blockbusters – is one of our favourite things to do. Why not bring the magic of the big screen to the comfort of your own backyard? It’s surprisingly easy to set up your own outdoor cinema; and you don’t need to spend a fortune on equipment to do it. CAA Members get even more benefits when they purchase their outdoor movie theatre supplies from CAA Partners.

1. Assemble your movie screen.

Setting up an outdoor movie theatre doesn’t require a lot of effort and you can keep costs low by making simple choices. If you’re lucky enough to have an exterior wall or fence painted white (or a very light colour), then there’s no need for a screen. If not, you don’t need to invest in an actual retractable screen: an affordable alternative is to use a white sheet – the bigger the better. Walmart has a large selection of inexpensive sheets to choose from. Make sure that you make the sheet fabric as taut as possible when you attach it to an exterior wall or fence. CAA Members earn 2% in CAA Dollars® at Walmart on most online purchases*. Click the "Shop Now" button on this page.

If you’re handy and enjoy carpentry, Chris Schoenberg, known as the Third Coast Craftsman, has an easy-to-follow video on how to make your own outdoor movie screen.

2. Pick your projector.

Good quality home projectors are better and brighter than you’d expect. Choose one that’s portable and durable enough to stand up to the outdoors, and make sure it has a resolution of at least 1280 x 720. We like the Philips NeoPix Easy2 + Projector available at The Source. The compact Phillips NeoPix can project images up to 65" (which means you’ll need a queen-size sheet!). The projector has a built-in media player for unlimited binge-watching. Just remember not to leave it outdoors when you’re done for the night. CAA Members save up to 20%* at The Source.

3. Give your movie theatre some character.

Want to make it whimsical? A few small details can really bring some magic to your “theatre.” Make your backyard feel like an interior room by anchoring your seating area with a large outdoor area rug, like Bouclair’s stylish and inexpensive Pineapple rug. CAA Members save an extra 5%* online and in-store at Bouclair. Use string lights to add a touch of sparkle, and use outdoor cushions as seating. Feel free to bring some of your favourite cozy indoor elements out (as long as you don’t forget them in the rain!), and add decorative touches like planters, tealights and citronella candles. For more outdoor decorating ideas, see our guide on how to make your backyard low maintenance.

4. Stock sips and snacks.

One-up the standard cinema concession counters with creative snacking ideas. Pop your own popcorn and get inventive with the flavours you serve. Try adding butter, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate chips for a s’mores spin on popcorn. Our favourite decadent combo? Popcorn mixed with all the candy we crave, from Swedish berries and Smarties to milk duds and sour keys.

For true popcorn aficionados, forget about popping your own and order from Kernels Popcorn, Canada's premier retailer of gourmet popcorn, for pickup or delivery. With more flavours than you can imagine – from their original butter and salt to Thai sweet chili – every piece of Kernels Popcorn is a delight. As a CAA Member, you get a free upsize* when you use your CAA card.

Not a popcorn lover? Order Well.ca’s curated snacking box, which comes in a giftable box and is full of tried and true favourites, like naturally-flavoured SmartSweets Sourmelon bites. CAA Members earn 5%* in CAA Dollars at Well.ca. Click the “Shop Now” button on this page.


Pick your pleasure.

Host a summer blockbuster night and rent new movie releases on Cineplex or Amazon Prime. If you’re looking for film ideas, Rotten Tomatoes’ list of best summer blockbusters of all time has movies dating back to 1975’s release of Jaws.

Or, host an international theme night, and play movies that are based in the same countries as the type of cuisine you’re serving. How about an Italian theme night? Screen the classic romance Roman Holiday, and follow it with the action-filled thriller The Italian Job, and watch while enjoying your favourite pasta dishes from East Side Mario’s. Members save 10%* at East Side Mario's by using your CAA card! With ideas like these, you and your family will be entertained all summer long.

For more ideas and savings for your summer adventures, check-out the CAA Rewards summer savings guide.