outdoor movie

Have you ever wanted to own a movie theater? You could play whatever movies you wanted, whenever you wanted and collect whatever fees you wanted from your customers. All you’d have to do is watch movies while the money rolls in. Do you think you can handle that? Well too bad, you missed your chance already, slacker. Netflix and Video on Demand took your job and now that dream is dead.

There were probably a few other things that turned the tides for movie theaters besides VOD. People don’t like paying $15 for popcorn, for one. Having to listen to some asshole in the row behind you playing with his cell phone the whole time does not make for a good movie experience, either. The decline of movie theater attendance could even be caused by something more simple like those dirty movie theater seats with their layers of popcorn “butter” slime and teenage makeout juices.

Any one of these things alone would be cause enough to shutter our nation’s theaters, but the fact that they are all occurring at once can only mean certain death for your local picture house. While this certainly sucks for the movie theater owners, it doesn’t have to mean the death of the big screen for us all. There is another way to watch your favorite films on the big screen. All you need is a little bit of space. Do you have a yard, garage or room with enough wall space to project a large picture? If so, then a home theater could be in your near future!

Once believed to be something found only on episodes of Cribs, the home theater is now more attainable than ever before. The equipment can be inexpensive and the setup is relatively easy once you find a proper location for your theater. When it comes to location, screen placement and seating are your main concerns, so decide how big of a theater you want and get hunting. Don’t be afraid to take things outside if the indoors aren’t cutting the mustard. As long as your neighborhood isn’t too noisy, a backyard movie can be a great way to spend an evening with friends.

Once a location is set, the next piece of the puzzle is the picture. The projector will be your biggest cost in this venture. 720p projectors are on the cheaper end but work fine for most applications as most will scale up to 1080p anyway. Of course, the price goes up for true 1080p projectors, but some can still be found for reasonable prices around the Web. 4k projectors are now available, but only an asshole would buy one of those. Don’t be an asshole.

Whichever route you choose, you are going to need a device to allow the projector to play movies. Laptops or DVD players work great and may already be around the house, thereby saving you dough. If streaming is your thing, a Google Chromecast or Roku will connect to most projectors to give you access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the rest for about $40.

Whatever you decide to watch, it’s going to need to be projected onto something. A white wall will work if it’s completely flat, though it won’t necessary be the best picture quality. You can also buy fixed and portable screens on the Internet for next to nothing, depending on the size and quality you seek. You can even go the DIY route and build your own screen. Either way, you should be good for under $100.

That takes care of the sights, so what about the sounds? The speakers you get don’t need to be bass-heavy or super loud. The speakers are for watching a flick, so, it’s mostly going to be dialogue pumping out of them, anyway. You should be thinking bookshelf speakers, 5 inches or larger or surround sound if you can afford it and it works for your room. Don’t forget: if the pair of speakers you want aren’t powered, then you are going to need an amp as well. Dig around, though; you can find a decent set of powered speakers that will do the job nicely for dirt cheap.

Now that you got all your equipment, you just need to connect everything together. Once that’s done, set up some chairs, make some popcorn and invite your friends, because it’s officially movie night. While this project may sound expensive, careful deal hunting can get you all set up for about $500. Of course, you can spend thousands of dollars on a ridiculous setup, if that’s more your style; just be mindful of that whole asshole thing.

-Bocephus Chigger