Going to the cinema – a fairly small, audience-dense room – can be daunting for some in the COVID era. An outdoor cinema, complete with beanbags, picnic rugs, and a view of the moon, offers a breathe-easy alternative. Below is a list of outdoor cinemas currently showing films.
Lucky Melbournians have the cream of the crop of outdoor cinema in 2022, with tonnes of films currently screening across several locations. Knowing what Melbourne weather is like, you might want to pack sunscreen and a coat.
- Moonlight Cinema – Royal Botanic Gardens, until 27 March.
- Melbourne Zoo Summer Cinema – Melbourne Zoo, until 12 March.
- Barefoot Cinema – St Kilda, until 26 February, and Werribee TBA.
- Cameo Cinema – Belgrave, all year, weather dependent.
- Pentridge Cinema – Coburg, until 27 February.
- Lido Rooftop – Hawthorn, all year, weather dependent.
- Disney+ Open Air Cinemas’ The Park – Melbourne Showgrounds, until 24 February.
- MIFF Outdoor Screenings – Narre Warren, 3-6 February.
Don’t miss: Ablaze (AUS, Tiriki Onus, 2021, documentary).
Showing 3 February at MIFF Summer Series, Bunjil Place, Narre Warren
Ablaze follows director Tiriki Onus’ grandfather Bill, a Yorta Yorta/Wiradjuri man from Victoria, who may have been the first Aboriginal filmmaker. Using rare archival footage, state-of-the-art animation, digital motion graphics and eye-witness accounts, this documentary weaves a fascinating tale.
Sydney film-goers have lots of variety when it comes to outdoor cinema. Rolling hills? Check. Views of the harbour? Check. The latest blockbusters? Check and check.
- Moonlight Cinema – Centennial Park, until 3 April.
- Sunset Cinema – North Sydney Oval, until 26 March.
- Westpac Open Air Cinema – Sydney Harbour), until 22 February.
- Disney+ Open Air Cinemas – Bankwest Stadium, TBA.
The Sunset Cinema returns to Canberra with beanbags, drinks, and popcorn-aplenty.
- Sunset Cinema Canberra – Australian National Botanic Gardens, until 26 February
Don’t miss: West Side Story (USA, Steven Spielberg, 2021, drama)
An Academy Award contender, Spielberg’s remake of the 1961 film (itself based on a Broadway musical) tells the story of a modern day Romeo and Juliet who are involved in New York street gangs. On the upper west side, two gangs battle for control. The situation becomes complicated when a gang members falls in love with a rival’s sister.
Queensland’s less forgiving climate means the summer outdoor screenings are slim (Moonlight cinema is still a staple, though). Keep an eye out for potential ‘floating’ cinema showings at Wet n’ Wild later in the year.
- Moonlight Cinema – Parkland, until 20 February.
Don’t miss: Licorice Pizza (USA, Paul Thomas Anderson, 2022, drama).
Showing 11 February at Moonlight Cinema, Roma Street Parkland.
Licorice Pizza is the story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around, and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973. Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film tracks the treacherous navigation of first love.
Adelaide has a nice little mix of big public screenings and more boutique options. While Moonlight Cinema’s 2021/2022 season has already ended, there’s still a chance to catch an outdoor flick at the below locations (all are family friendly, too).
As Darwin’s wet season is in full swing, outdoor cinemas are closed, with indoor air-conditioned alternatives in their place. The much-loved Deckchair Cinema re-opens later in the year.
- Deckchair Cinema/Flix In The Wet – Darwin Harbour, until 20 March.
Don’t miss: I Am Belmaya (Nepal, Sue Carpenter & Belmaya Nepali, 2021, documentary).
Showing 27 February and 13 March at Flix In The Wet, BCC Causarina.
An inspiring documentary about a young Nepalese woman’s transformational journey from subjugated wife to documentary filmmaker. Belmaya is desperate for independence. When a chance to train in documentary filmmaking presents itself, will she find the courage to pick up the camera?
Perth has a bevy of outdoor cinemas in almost every corner – so if you’re on the west coast, check out the guides below to plan a refreshing night out.
- Moonlight Cinema – Kings Park, until 27 March.
- Telethon Community Cinemas – Burswood until 24 April, Bassendean until 9 April, Murdoch until 23 April, Joondalup until 23 April.
- Luna Outdoor Cinema – Leederville, until 17 April.
- Rooftop Movies – Northbridge, until 2 April.
- Camelot Outdoor Cinema – Mosman Park, until 9 February.
- Kookaburra Cinema – Mundaring, until April tbc.
Don’t miss: Drive My Car (Japan, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021, drama).
Showing 10 and 11 February at Luna Outdoor Cinema, Leederville.
A stage actor and director accepts to direct Uncle Vanja at a theatre festival in Hiroshima. There he meets an introverted young woman appointed to drive his car. In between rides, secrets from the past and heartfelt confessions will be unveiled. Based on a short story by Haruki Murakami.
Hobart icon the State Cinema is putting on a couple of rooftop sessions, complete with stunning views of Mt Wellington – but you better get in quick, they won’t be on for long.
- State Cinema Rooftop – North Hobart, all summer; weather dependent.
Don’t miss: Spencer (UK, Pablo Larrain, 2021, drama).
Showing 30 January, State Cinema, North Hobart.
The marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the queen’s estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game, but this year, things will be profoundly different. Starring Kristen Stewart in the titular role.