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What Are The Outdoor Cinemas In Melbourne?

The best outdoor cinemas in Melbourne provide an overload sensory experience, unlike any other Summer evening activity. Breathe in the fresh air, gaze at the stunning starlit sky, marvel at the city skyline – all while being immersed in the action of the big screen. These pop-up cinemas in Melbourne offer an ideal romantic date night or a fun evening out with mates or even the whole family.

List Of Outdoor Cinemas

Sunset Cinema

The Sunset Cinema is the most magical and best outdoor cinema in Melbourne CBD. Lounge in a park and watch the sunset before settling in for the top new releases showing on the huge screen before you. Opt for the lavish lawn lounge with a reserved bean lounger, beverage of choice, and box of popcorn, or bring three friends to get a groupie discount. Fuel your laughter or crying with Grant Burge wines and Young Henrys, as well as all the must-have movie snacks and onsite dining.

Cameo Cinemas

Each summer, Cameo Cinemas in the Dandenong Ranges opens up their backyard to transform it into a green, cultural oasis. This pop-up cinema in Melbourne showcases a mix of Summer blockbusters and arthouse films to suit every taste. Lounge back on a deckchair or beanbag nibbling on Sassafras sweets and hand-made choc-tops while marvelling as the forest fades and the stars appear. Don your headphones and feel part of the action with their looming 14m widescreen.

Rooftop Cinema

Swap your full black curtains for the sparkling Melbourne skyline as the backdrop to your cinema with Rooftop Cinema. It doesn't matter which movie you see at this stunning locale, but rest assured, they only showcase the most entertaining classic films and recent releases. From your unrivalled location in the centre of the city, you will feel part of the bustle but far above (quite literally) the hustle. Check out this rooftop cinema in Melbourne CBD and immerse yourself in the city's best urban retreat.

Barkly Square Open Air Cinema

Get all the choice of a central commercial cinema, but with the added night sky views and ambience of the best outdoor cinema in Melbourne with the Barkly Square Open Air Cinema. Every Saturday night over December and January, McDougall Lane lights up for a family-friendly, arthouse or modern flick complemented by local food retailers and cold drinks. All proceeds go to seven different charities, including Make-A-Wish, VicDeaf and Melbourne City Mission.

Openair Cinemas

Go for a stroll along St Kilda's idyllic beachfront before getting yourself comfortable at the American Express Openair Cinema. Enjoy live music, sunset drinks, food and, of course, top-notch movies at this quintessential Summer event. Easily the most popular and best outdoor cinema in Melbourne, impress your date with this fun and a romantic open-air cinema.

Barefoot Cinema

barefoot outdoor cinema

If you need an excuse to head to the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, look no further than the pop-up cinema in Melbourne, Barefoot Cinema. This is the Summer experience you've been searching for – complete with lawn games, food trucks, air sacks and picnic blankets, stunning views and starlit evenings. However, this is much more than a mere outdoor movie experience. It's an entire afternoon of entertainment and nature ideal for a romantic date, a group of mates, or a family trip.

The screen will vie for your attention at the spectacular Seawinds Garden at Arthurs Seat, set among majestic pine trees and beautiful gardens right in the middle of the Mornington Peninsula wine region. Hang out prior in the pre-movie area (with beer and wines for the grownups), grab your treats from the Barefoot Candy Bar, or select some hot food options from Martha's Table food truck. There are no special seating arrangements at either Seawinds Garden or Rippon Lea Estate, and there is plenty of room for everyone, so take your beanbag, picnic rug, blow up chair, sleeping bag, low back chair or whatever grabs your fancy. 

Dromana Drive-In

With four huge screens and two sessions each night, the Dromana Drive-In has a flick to suit every taste. Before your film, be sure to eat at the iconic Shel's Diner, the unique 50's style American diner complete with back-seat benches, jukebox, tiled floors, movie memorabilia, and your favourite shakes, burgers and fries. Out of the 60 that once existed, Dromana Drive-In is one of the only three drive-ins in Victoria.

Village Cinemas Coburg Drive-In

Bring a carload of friends to the Coburg Drive-In and enjoy blockbuster movies on their huge 33-metre widescreen. Tune in to the sound via your car's FM stereo broadcast and enjoy Melbourne's most old-fashioned and best outdoor cinema.

QV Cinema

Cult classics, recent blockbusters and themed film screenings are just the starts of the action at QV Cinema. With live performances, guest appearances, pop up bars and doggie dress-up nights, you're in for an unforgettable evening of entertainment. For the best outdoor cinema in Melbourne, don't look past this highlight cinema event right in the CBD.

Lunar Drive-In

The Lunar Drive-in Theatre Dandenong is open all year round (except Christmas night) and is the largest drive-in theatre in Australia. Check out the latest blockbusters on one of their four screens for just $30 per carload and enjoy Aussie hamburgers at the Lunar Cafe. Operating for over 60 years, the Lunar Drive-In is Melbourne's oldest and best outdoor cinema.

Cinemas and Theatre Melbourne For Kids

American Express Openair Cinemas

One of the first ones to pop up for the season (Yarra Park in early October and St Kilda in November), this cinema makes for a kid and dog-friendly evening out. Dine on freshly-cooked cuisine while the adults can enjoy a drink from the fully-stocked bar and lie under the stars with your loved ones to watch a movie.

Coburg Drive-In

For a night of good old fashioned movie fun, please bring your family or a carload of friends to the Village Drive-In, where they screen a variety of blockbusters projected onto the huge 33 metre wide screens and sound is picked up through your car's FM stereo broadcast. You can grab a bite to eat in the retro style diner, or you can order from your car via the Coburg Drive In-app (available through the app store) to have snacks delivered straight to you. From popcorn to burgers and fries, there's sure to be a treat to complement your night out.

South Wharf Pop-Up Cinema at Common Man

Enjoy your movie riverside on Common Man's bright green Astroturf, featuring deck chairs, drinks, and a lolly bar packed with everyone's favourites. The Heineken 3 Pop-Up Bar & Pimms Garden will also be in operation for the adults, offering Heineken 3, Pimm's cocktails & jug specials to film-goers. In addition, a range of Movie deal packages will be available, including Pimms Jugs, bubbles & dips.

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Outdoor Cinemas in Melbourne You Need to Visit This Summer

Classic Cinema, Elsternwick

Classic Cinemas holds the claim to fame as being the longest continuously operating cinema in Victoria. It boasts ten indoor screens as well as the Classic Rooftop. The stunning views out to the bay make it surely one of Melbourne's gorgeous places to watch rooftop movies. The Classic Cinema rooftop movie season will officially start November 11 with a 12:07 am (that's 0007 in 24 hour time – geddit?) of Daniel Craig's final James Bond film, No Time to Die. Comfortable director's chair seating is on staggered levels and socially distanced, and there are enhanced cleaning protocols in place.

Disney+ Drive-In, Ascot Vale

Openair Cinemas are presenting a second season of the popular Disney+ Drive-in at the Melbourne Showgrounds over the summer of 2021-2022. The program is coming soon but expects classics and new releases from the Disney+ library, meaning there's sure to be some family-friendly favourites. In addition, you can BYO food and drinks (no alcohol) to enjoy from the comfort of your car, order movie snack staples such as popcorn, confectionery and soft drinks from the kiosk onsite or even order hot food from a food delivery platform.

Lido Cinema, Hawthorn

At Lido Cinema's outdoor cinema, you can watch blockbusters and arthouse classics with bird's-eye views of Hawthorn's rooftops. Lido on the Roof is hosting outdoor movie theatre sessions with films such as Zola, Eternals and Daniel Craig's long-awaited final James Bond film, No Time to Die. The same people run it as the Cameo and Classic rooftop cinemas in Melbourne, so the programming across all three cinemas is often similar. There's no need for BYO snacks: Lido Cinema's food and drink counter serve up great movie treats, from choc-tops and vegan-friendly popcorn, edamame and craft beers. 

FAQs About The Outdoor Cinemas In Melbourne

A drive-in theatre or drive-in cinema is a form of cinema structure consisting of a large outdoor movie screen, a projection booth, a concession stand, and a large parking area for automobiles.

According to the definition of the Building Act, theatres can be largely divided into three types: cinema with a single screen, multi-cinema with more than two screens, and cine-complex with a complex structure and with a theatre combined with other facilities that promote movie watching.

  • Our tip: Unless you've found out any of this info first, you will need a camping chair, a coat (when the sun goes down, it gets COLD), a torch, a blanket, a picnic, as mentioned above, waterproofs and an umbrella. As I said, some companies will provide limited chairs and even bean bags to get comfy on.

If it rains just a bit, the movie goes on. But, if the rain gets torrential, where you can't see anything, the folks will give you a 'rain check for another day. over a year ago.

Many drive-in movies, especially smaller, rural theatres, closed because they could not purchase the new digital equipment. But there are still approximately 325 drive-in theatres opened in the United States. Many have gotten creative in how to stay in operation.

Because drive-in theatres do not have moveable screen masking to adjust the film the way indoor theatres do, you will want to build a screen between these two ratios. Many drive-in theatres use a ratio between 2.0:1 and 2.2:1. A typical drive-in screen is between 50 and 100 feet wide.

Pentridge Open-Air Cinema, Coburg

Experience the best global releases and hand-picked retro films under the summer stars in a unique location. Pentridge Open-Air Cinema is Melbourne's newest open-air cinema and is open from Thursday, November 11 2021, to Sunday, February 27 2022, in Coburg's new Pentridge Precinct. The Palace Pop-Up Bar offers snacks and drinks from 7:30 pm when the gates open. You can BYO and picnic boxes (and bring a blanket when the temperature cools down), but no BYO alcohol. So make sure you arrive early to claim a deck chair, stock up on your favourite beverages and settle in for a beautiful evening.

Sun Williamstown Cinema, Williamstown

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Pack some blankets and head to the waterfront for a relaxing night of movie-watching at Shore Cinema, a pop-up cinema collaboration between the Sun Theatre and Seaworks. It's especially nice that you can bring your food or drink to enjoy during the movie and screenings start at twilight. Seating options include Cape Cod Double (for two people), bean Bag or Bring Your Own. The Sun Williamstown season is often short, and tickets are popular. It's best to keep an eye out on social media to see when movies are screening, so you don't miss out.

URBNSURF Outdoor Cinema, Tullamarine

Enjoy the amazing food & beverage from Three Blue Ducks, cold tinnies from Gage Roads Brewing Co. and bask in the sun all afternoon. Then As the sun sets, Pick a beanbag, relax and watch some amazing surf films as the night surfing continues in the lagoon. The outdoor cinema event begins on Friday, November 26, until Saturday, December 11. Food and beverages will be served from 2 pm, and music will be played at 6 pm until the movie starts right after sunset at 8:30 pm.

Christmas Cinema, Carlton

Argyle Square's been fully made up to display the joyful Christmas spirit, and it's the perfect spot to enjoy an evening movie and picnic with provisions from Lygon Street's famous delis, restaurants and gelateria with family and friends. Some bean bags and deck chairs will be available, but you can bring your picnic gear to enjoy the film in your chosen spot. The film screening starts at 8:30 pm. and will run on Saturdays starting on December 4 until the 18th. No bookings required

Bathe in Cinema

Join Bathe in Cinema for their second week in celebrating the 25th anniversary of hit TV series, F·R·I·E·N·D·S with screenings of fan favourite episodes in their iconic, open-air Bathe In Cinema. This week, fans will get to watch the "The Engagements" episode on Tuesday, "The Weddings" on Wednesday, and lastly, the memorable "Thanksgiving Special" on Thursday night.

Lancemore Crossley St. x Malfy Gin Retro Rooftop Cinema

From December 2 until January 27, every Thursday, Malfy Gin will launch a one-of-a-kind cinema experience on the rooftop of Lancemore Crossley St. Enjoy the warm summer nights, drinks from the Malfy Gin pop up bar, and the lovely company of friends and loved ones while watching some classic Hollywood's films under the stars. Viewers will also get a chance to win a one night stay at the hotel!

Elwood Outdoor Cinema

Bourne Local is bringing a fun outdoor cinema experience to Elwood Foreshore through their first-ever Open Air Cinema From December to January. The experience includes live music and children's entertainment, gourmet Melbourne food trucks, and some cheeky beverages to complete the experience as you watch the sunset over Elwood Beach right before you watch the film.

The outdoor cinema experience is perfect for the whole family, and that counts your pets as they are also allowed to join you during this summertime event. Gates open at 5 pm, with movies beginning once the sun has set. There is no reserved seating, so it would be best to come early and bring your blankets, cushions, or bean bags.

Moonlight Cinema, Royal Botanic Gardens

Head out for a perfect night under the stars at the Melbourne location for the Australia-wide Moonlight Cinema. The summer season runs until April 1, showing advance screenings, new releases and cult films. So don't forget your blankets and pillows. This ever-popular experience in the Royal Botanic Gardens is back. So get your picnic and rug ready for films like Shang-Chi, Black Widow and Cruella. There's a licensed bar, candy bar and food trucks on site. Even better? You can bring your dog. 

From December 2021, Moonlight Cinema is playing classic and new release films in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. You can BYO a grazing box or picnic hamper, or there's a bar for refreshments and a selection of food trucks. All films start at sundown, so make sure you get there early to catch a good spot on the lawn. It's a great way to spend a summer evening in Melbourne.

Conclusion:

Melbourne in summer is the time to bask in balmy weather and long days. And there's no better way to enjoy time together than watching your favourite films outdoors while relaxing on comfortable chairs or lounging on a picnic rug. Here's a list of the best outdoor cinemas in Melbourne, many of which offer family-friendly films.

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