Outdoor cinema season is back – and there are more options to choose from than ever. Are you keen for a classic garden cinema experience? Or what about an inner-city rooftop? You could even catch a film by the beach. These are our top choices of al fresco cinema in Melbourne. While you're planning your summer adventures, check out our favourite places to swim, plus our top night markets.
Melbourne's open-air cinemas
Following on from last year's sold-out run, Gourmet Cinema returns with an extended season along with a bigger and better food line-up. From March 2-7, expect Baby Pizza, Meatmaiden, Saigon Sally, The Fish and Chippery by Atlantic, and Fitzroy North's Horn Please. Then from March 8-12 a restaurant shake-up will see L'Hotel Gitan, Kong, Tokyo Tina, Fonda Mexican and The Pimm's Garden Bar serve up their delicious food and drink to hungry movie goers. Of course, the other main event at Gourmet Cinema are the films. Movies start at 8pm and for the first time, Gourmet Cinema will be showing matinees from 1pm over the opening weekend, where screenings will feature family-friendly flicks.
Lido Cinema’s rooftop makes a triumphant return this summer. The season kicks off with a Western-themed costume party and a screening of the Hell or Highwater, starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine. Lido on the Roof will also screen summer releases including Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and a Valentine's Day screening of Fifty Shades Darker. Press rewind and get stuck into retro-Wednesdays, which will feature screenings of classic flicks Do the Right Thing, Death Becomes Her, Wake in Fright, Pink Flamingos and Woody Allen's Manhattan.
There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the evening cool of the Botanic Gardens. Settle back with friends and family for a movie and BYO picnic on a balmy summer night, or let one of the food trucks take care of the edibles for you. Acclaimed Oscar hopefuls such as La La Land, Lion, and Passengers will get a screening on the Central Lawn of the Royal Botanical Gardens. So will blockbusters ranging from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to Assassin's Creed, not forgetting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks too.
Catch cult classics and new releases under the stars this summer. Expect arthouse flicks including Tom Ford’s latest film Nocturnal Animals, Woody Allen’s Cafe Society and blockbuster summer releases including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Arrival. As usual, you’ll be able to fuel up from Rooftop Bar’s burger stand, where you can also get your choc-top and popcorn fix ahead of the screening.
Belgrave's Cameo Cinemas operate an outdoor cinema every summer, showcasing a mix of epic summer blockbusters and quality art-house films in amongst the green forests of the Dandenong Ranges. The outdoor cinema opens an hour before every film screening, giving moviegoers enough time to take in the breath-taking surroundings and grab treats like sweets from The Sassafras Sweet Co and hand-made choc tops.