Whether it’s a cult classic or a summer blockbuster you’re looking for, there’s an outdoor cinema in Melbourne that’s playing it.
After you’ve bought a burger and beer, grab yourself a deckchair on the top floor of Curtin House and settle in. Mexican restaurant Mesa Verde also has a pre-cinema special. As always, the Rooftop Cinema line-up this summer is broad. There are tributes to Prince, David Bowie and Gene Wilder (Purple Rain, Labyrinth and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory); fuzzy, feel-good Christmas movies (Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf); classics (Casablanca, Pulp Fiction); and three 30th-anniversary celebrations. That’s right: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Stand by Me and Top Gun all came out three decades ago.
This Melbourne cinema classic has two 33-metre-wide screens, so you can enjoy the latest summer blockbusters from the comfort of your car (in case the weather this summer isn’t so summery). Admission for kids under 11 is free, and all tickets are discounted on Mondays. There’s a retro-style diner for snacks, and you can have food delivered straight to your car using the new Coburg Drive-in app.
Shimmerlands is on at Melbourne University for two months this summer, and an outdoor cinema is part of the festival. The Shimmerlands film program – curated by Lauren Valmadre, who’s the program director of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival – has included a mix of classics (The Big Lebowski and The Bodyguard) and new releases (La La Land and American Honey). There’s also a very strong line-up of music documentaries.
Lido on the Roof
The Lido Cinema’s rooftop in Hawthorn is kitted out with beanbags and deckchairs for watching art-house classics, short films, big summer releases and some classic Disney flicks. You can also bring your own blankets and pillows. The food line-up this year has a new addition: a choc-top, six months in the making by gelato-maker Piccolina Gelateria.
Melbourne Moonlight Cinema
Moonlight Cinema returns to the central lawn at the Botanic Gardens with a line-up of cult classics, new major releases and indies. You can bring your own food and drinks (including alcohol), but if you haven’t planned ahead there’s a fully licensed bar, food trucks and a snack bar. There’s a “Gold Grass” program, too, and Moonlight Cinema is pet-friendly, so bring your pooch.
The Backlot Rooftop Drive-In
One of Melbourne’s newest outdoor cinemas is also a drive-in. Located on a rooftop in the Docklands, the Backlot Rooftop Drive-In has two screens with room for 65 cars each, as well as walk-ins. You’ll be watching Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in Allied, with the Melbourne skyline as a backdrop. There’s a candy bar and food trucks.
QV Outdoor Cinema
Back for its second season, the QV Outdoor Cinema line-up is heavy on classics, such as Stand by Me, As Good as It Gets and The Goonies. Between February 9 and 12, it’s a Ryan Gosling fest, which culminates with The Notebook. Bring your dogs to screenings of Lady and the Tramp and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, which will raise money for Lort Smith, Australia’s largest not-for-profit animal hospital.
Barkly Square Open Air Cinema
Debuting in Brunswick this year, Barkly Square Open Air Cinema kicks off with Home Alone and will show a mix of family-friendly, art house and blockbuster films over summer. Roll’d, Zambrero, Po’s Kitchen and Jerry’s Burgers and Fried Chicken, all located in Barkly Square, are offering meal deals for cinema-goers.
Host your own
Feel like hosting an alfresco movie night at your house? Sundown Moving Pictures provides an outdoor projector and screen, and you can choose from a selection of new release and classic films.
Portsea’s newest addition, Barefoot Cinema, is at Point Nepean for the summer. Think sunsets, live music and a view of Port Philip Bay. The line-up includes classics and recent hits such as The Castle, Almost Famous and The Big Short. There will be food trucks, pressed juices and confectionary from The Naked Truth, and live acts before each film.
The Dromana Drive-In opened in 1962 and still has its classic retro vibe. Before the movie, slide into a vinyl booth for burgers and thickshakes at Shel’s Diner. There’s 1950s music on the jukebox; the perfect pre-film activity. New releases begin showing on Boxing Day.