Do you have any tips for an outdoor movie night?

Reader question:

Has anyone carried out an outdoor movie night? Hints and tips would be amazing.

Here are some ideas from our Facebook community on running an outdoor movie night:

  • We’ve done a few. Charged $20 per family or $5 individual ticket. Principal picks 3 suitable movies then the kids vote in class (secret vote) then it’s revealed on the night. We have food trucks come in who give us % back of their sales. We also sold glow stick stuff. The movie provider had speakers & played music beforehand & showed a movie that the school put together of photos of the kids doing things at school. We called it Family & Friends Outdoor Movie Night (neighbours & other family members were invited but not the general public)
  • “Movie Under The Stars” – charged $20 Family 2 adults/ 3 children & $5 single. Also sold our raffle tickets at the gate. We had a canteen operating and we also allowed people to bring their own. We sold hot dogs & hot chips, drinks – hot and cold plus a candy bar. Our local jumping castle hire were the ones we hired the screen and speakers from and they also provided us with a popcorn machine – exactly like the local cinemas. We screened two movies, Incredibles and Jurassic World, as they both have the next installments coming up. We had over 170 people attend and when they were leaving they asked if we could do it again! Will be hosting another one when the weather warms up. Wish we had done it sooner!

image provided by reader


  • When we have had a premiere event at our cinema – we had never targeted families, more so a girls night out. We hosted the last two releases of the ’50 shades’. Tickets were $35 pp and included the ticket, a drink on arrival and canapés. We received a percentage – $1700 was our lowest. We are extremely fortunate to have a cinema that helps Fundraising groups.
  • We held our first one this year, it was supposed to be in November last year but got postponed due to bad weather. We ran it as a school community event, not a fundraiser, and we just asked for a gold coin donation per family. We had two food trucks that donated back 10% of their profits. Our movie hire was $450 and screen hire $720. We took about $500 in gold coin donations. It was a great event in terms of minimal organization or hands-on work required, the volunteers only needed to be at the gates to collect the donations and stay afterwards for 10 mins to pick up lost property and a small amount of rubbish. We’re already planning next years.
  • If you are able to get some business’s to support at $100-$200 each for their logo displayed on the big screen prior to the movie- you can cover your cost of hire.


Here is a good question from a reader –

  • If it been held at school couldn’t the licensing be under the school’s license? Most schools already pay a fee to roadshow in order to be able to show movies in school time?

Answer from a reader –

  • School licences do not generally extend to entertainment or non-educational purposes. We hired an outdoor inflatable screen. They organised the licensing for us. Cost dependant on the movie chosen.


  • We did a Halloween Movie night that worked well, with pre-sold trick-or-treat bags and maps for kids to collect their treats from. This was pre-organised with selected home owners in small town, so may not be feasible in a city. Kids and parents dressed up and we had a Halloween themed supper available for purchase. Where you can get free or donated venue hire, costs are cheaper. Local councils often give out annual small grants so it could be an option to apply for a grant to cover hire of the movie.
  • We were going to hold an outdoor movie on our oval but after looking at hire costs & how much it was to get a recent movie it was out of reach. Instead we went to our local cinema & got a private session where we sold tickets to it & food deals. They gave a us a movie that hadn’t been released yet so we sold more tickets for this exclusive preview. We made around $3000 for half the work.
  • We did one but didn’t charge for the movie, rather as a “welcome to 2018” and to give back to the school community. We did have a candy bar which did moderately ok, however, drink sales (soft drink and water) weren’t as popular as most people bought drinks from home. If we were to do it again we would look at food trucks or a sausage sizzle. We managed to secure a Minion dress up which we used in the weeks leading up to the night (we watched Despicable Me 3) as a promotion, and also used it on the night to present a fundraising cheque to the school. That was a highlight as the kids were excited during the lead up.

image provided by reader

This reader question was brought to you from ‘The Fundraising Whisperer VIP group’. To read more conversations like this make sure you like our Facebook page and join our community!

You might also be interested in: