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9 Must-Haves for a Stellar Backyard Movie Night

A woman in a pool floating lounger; a woman wrapped in a blue towel; a popcorn maker
Intex/Viventive/West Bend

How do you combine summer blockbusters with outdoor entertaining? Easy! Plan a backyard movie night!

It’s pretty simple to set up a backyard movie nigh for your family and friends. At the most basic level, all you need is a white sheet, a projector, and somewhere for everyone to sit. If you wanna take your outdoor entertaining to the next level, though, you can add just a few more special touches.

From the big-ticket items, all the way down to the fun little details, here are your must-haves for creating a memorable backyard movie night.

ViewSonic 1080p Projector

Front and back view of a white digital projector

A movie night is nothing without a great projector! For a top-notch viewing experience, we love the ViewSonic 1080p Projector. This high-quality projector is made by a reliable tech brand.

It allows for HD (1920 x 1080p) projections on screens up to 300 inches, with a bright lamp for viewing in any light level and built-in sound. A large number of sources are compatible with the HDMI and USB ports, including popular TV sticks and other devices, so you can stream and project from your favorite device.

Plus, the projector comes with a 10W built-in speaker. Built-in speakers on projectors can sometimes be a little dicey in terms of actual sound quality, but this model includes 3.5mm audio in and out jacks on the back.

That means you can pipe the sound out to anything that accepts a headphone-style cord, whether it’s an old stereo or a new Bluetooth boombox with an audio-in jack.

CENTURY-STAR Projection Screen with Stand

A projector screen set up by a pool and in a backyard

When it comes to your screen, a basic white sheet will work in a pinch, but for a better viewing experience, you’ll probably want a projector screen. The surface of the CENTURY-STAR Projection Screen with Stand provides a high-resolution viewing experience with a wide-view angle on a 120-inch screen for a complete movie experience.

It’s easy to assemble and includes a sturdy frame with two tripods to provide the best stability possible on any outdoor surface.

So, you can set this up on a patio, wooden deck, the grass, or anywhere else in your yard. The screen is entirely freestanding and doesn’t require any elaborate setup, nor hanging—just assemble it and press play!

Roku Streaming Stick+

A black Roku stick on a brown background; a woman holding a Roku stick

You’ve got the projection ready, now you just need your content! The Roku Streaming Stick+ is an affordable option for making your favorite streaming services portable!

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a plug-in option with a long-range wireless receiver that allows you to stream anything from the participating services. These include pretty much all the major options that are compatible with Roku.

The master remote also allows for complete control as you stream your favorites in high definition.

Intex Inflatable Rockin’ Lounge Chairs

A woman in a pool in a floating lounger; two lounge floats on a white background

Take full advantage of your outdoor movie night by upgrading your seating to pool loungers. These Intex Inflatable Rockin’ Loungers are a comfy chair-meets-pool-float option. They feature a contoured design, wide seats, headrests, and drink holders.

These teal-and-white loungers come in sets of two for an easy, super-affordable seating option perfect for a summer theme.

West Bend Theater Style Popcorn Popper

A red popcorn maker sitting on a counter; a close-up of popped popcorn coming out of the kettle
West Bend

The West Bend Theater-Style Popcorn Popper looks like a vintage machine, but works like a modern appliance. With a four-ounce, nonstick kettle, it’s easy to make several servings of popcorn at once, so everyone can enjoy it freshly popped, just like they can at the movies.

This retro-style machine also includes a stir rod in the popping kettle to ensure maximum popped kernels, plus an easy-to-use tilt door to get the popcorn out. You can add any seasonings you like, whether it’s classic butter and salt, or a special recipe.

Stock Your Home Popcorn Buckets

A stack of popcorn buckets; a yellow popcorn bucket held by a woman wearing jeans
Stock Your Home

What would movie night popcorn be without a classic popcorn bucket? Get the movie theater vibe at home with these Stock Your Home Popcorn Buckets.

They’re grease-proof, retro, and disposable so you can create the full movie theater effect at home. You can choose 64- or 85-ounce buckets, and they come in packs of 25.

Best Choice Products Steel Mesh Lawn Chair Set

A pair of beige lawn chairs; a couple sitting on a patio in blue lounge chairs
Best Choice Products

Prefer watching your movie from an actual chair rather than the pool loungers we mentioned above? No problem! These zero-gravity Mesh Lawn Chairs come in pairs. They’re also comfortable and come in a variety of colors to match any style or color scheme.

Each chair is adjustable, ergonomic, and comes with a detachable tray that features two cup, a phone, and tablet holder. These are the perfect choice for comfort and ease while watching a movie outside, whether it’s a date or family night, or a hangout with friends.

Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler

An open cooler filled with cans and ice; a closed cooler with two tumblers sitting on top

Outdoor movie nights are a lot less fun if you have to keep getting up to go get food and snacks. Instead, store all your favorite must-haves with plenty of ice in the Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler.

Large and sturdy, this heavy-duty cooler will keep a large amount of food and drinks cold for hours at a time. It’s the perfect way to ensure drinks, ice, snacks, or all of the above are ready to go for a night under the stars!

Viventive Turkish Bath Towels

A woman wrapped in a blue patterned towel; a gray and white striped towel hanging

Whether you use them as lounging rugs or to dry off after a dip in the pool, this set of Viventive Turkish Bath Towels are a perfect accessory for an outdoor movie night.

Made of lightweight, but absorbent, cotton, these luxurious towels are woven using eco-friendly techniques and materials that get softer, not threadbare, with each use. They’re edged with cute tassels and come in several colors.

It’s easy to create a backyard movie night on any budget. We recommend splurging on the most important items (like a high-quality projector), then building out from there. No matter how much or little you spend, you’re sure to have a fun, relaxing movie night under the stars!

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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