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Case Study - How To Create a Large Audience for your Outdoor Movie Event

a large outdoor movie event at sunset.

Each Spring through Fall, we work with a large number of cities, counties, parks & police departments, apartment complexes and schools throughout California to produce highly successful outdoor movie events. No matter what type of organization it is, they all want the same thing: a huge turnout. 

In this blog post, we explore what the 5 keys are to generating the big turnout you want from your outdoor movie. We do this by examining one of our customers, Pier 39 in San Francisco, who we assisted this year with its last Friday of the Month free movie event. 

In January 2017, Pier 39 launched a 39-week celebration to showcase its 39th year of operations. Besides its monthly outdoor movie event, they had a large number of other weekly events to help drive traffic to their store tenants. Each month they have done a movie event their crowds have grown, with their next outdoor movie showing on August 25th at 8:00pm.

(Pier 39 showing the Princess Diaries to a happy crowd)

From out standpoint, Pier 39 did 5 key things to ensure big numbers to their outdoor movie:

Do a Series of Outdoor Movies

(Pier 39's showing of the Princess Diaries)

As mentioned elsewhere in our Avista blogs, repetition is key to building an audience for your outdoor movies. Pier 39 did this to the extreme, doing 9 movies in a  row, but most of our other successful movie events are for at least 3 movies (a June, July and August summer series being the most popular). Word of mouth alone drives increased crowds with almost all of our clients.

Do a Theme

When you build in a theme you generate a lot more excitement than just playing the latest Pixar flick. We've seen highly successful classic movies done with costume contests, such as with the Wizard of Oz. Pier 39's theme was built around movies where San Francisco's location played a major role (Big Hero 6, Princess Diaries) or some other tie-in (Forrest Gump as Bubba Gump's a major Pier 39 tenant, and Mrs. Doubtfire to celebrate Robin Williams' birthday).

Advertise Early and Everywhere

(The City of South San Francisco using well placed traffic control signage to advertise its very popular outdoor movie series)

Pier 39 produced multiple banners throughout its location, and ended up on a number of event-related websites for San Francisco. One of their more prominent advertising venues is in the pre-roll slideshow that plays for an hour before the movie begins. This is your most likely audience for your next event, so this is a must do.

Pier 39 not only advertises its next movie before the movie begins, but has various sponsors advertising to its captive audience. If your an apartment complex or school, think about local vendors that would love the opportunity to display their presence to a local audience. Whle not a tool to build audience size, it is a great way to take advantage of the large crowd you have.

Give Away some Swag
While not appropriate for all outdoor movie events, giving away some swag is a great way to build an audience. This can be a tie-in to your theme, or maybe something from a local business sponsor. Pier 39 gives away hugely popular fleece blankets, a perfect giveaway for those cold nights out on the bay.

Give the outdoor movie rental experts at Avista a call to discuss your next movie event. We are the leader in outdoor movies systems in California, whether it's for do-it-yourself backyard movies, or large scale movie-in-the-park events. Check out our outdoor movie rental page for more information, or check out our small outdoor movie rental systems , our medium outdoor movie rental sytems, and our large outdoor movie rental systems.

Lastly, check out a little video of our outdoor movie events we just did that shows a small sample of our recent outdoor movie events. We do larger format movie events as well, give us a call to discuss!

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Thank you for visiting our website! Our team at Avista has worked long and hard to understand what's important to you, our customer, which is distilled into our 4 Value Principles: 1) Being transparent with our pricing, 2) Being prompt and friendly in all our communications with you, 3) Delivering the right AV solution for your event at the best price, and 4) Exceeding your expectations with the high caliber of our crew and gear. We're very proud that these principals have driven strong growth since our founding in 2005, to where we are now one of the premier providers of AV rentals and AV production services on the West Coast. Customers have the choice of picking up and returning AV gear to any of our offices, or having our team of highly skilled audio and video technicians deliver and run the AV aspects of your meeting or event.

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