Entertainment

How To Host an Epic At-Home Premiere Night

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Awards season is upon us, and big-budget premieres are back in action. The upside of the past year is that more major movie releases are going straight to streaming than ever before, allowing you the chance to host your very own premiere night from the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re organizing a virtual watch party for your favorite indie director’s latest film, celebrating a big summer blockbuster among fully vaccinated friends, or marking an anticipated season finale with the members of your household, there are a lot of ways to elevate a night of entertainment from glum to glam. Here are our Thrillist-approved ways to host an epic at-home premiere party:

Host apart, but together

If you’re not able to host everyone you’d like in one place, we get it. Luckily, there are several platforms that allow you to have a communal live streamed experience. Hosting in separate houses can also lend itself to meta-games: try decorating each space differently to root for different characters in the movie, or hold a vote to see who put together the best decor. Don’t forget to dress up — after all, it’s still premiere night.

Take it outside

Outdoor viewings always feel more special, and with warm weather on the way, they’re more doable than ever. Plus, it’s an easy solution for adding social distance to your premiere. Although screening a movie outside may seem daunting, the actual set-up is fairly simple. You’ll want a projector, speakers, and something to project on (usually a screen, although garage doors and walls can also work!) Extension cables are key here, so be sure you measure out your space before buying them. After that, it’s all about the vibe: set up string lights to get that cozy lighting, get inflatable couches or hammocks, and bring whatever snacks you desire. We’ve even got a comprehensive gear list here for inspiration. One more thing to remember: bug spray. Mosquito bites don’t match a black-tie outfit.

Get an actual red carpet

Becoming the proud owner of an actual red carpet is easier than you think. For starters, you can cop a cheap one on Amazon for $22 — just make sure you tape it down well! If you’re looking to get even fancier, most local event rental companies will rent out a plush red carpet, plus velvet ropes, backdrops, and more. The more realistic you make it, the better the vibe will be for your premiere. Of course, it wouldn’t be a red carpet without paparazzi, so hire a photographer (or just recruit a friend) to take pics and pester your guests with questions about who they’re wearing. Pro tip: instant film cameras make it easy to create take-home mementos.

Snack like you’re in the movie

At Thrillist, we take movie snacks seriously. And that means for your big night, you’ll want to step up the snacking game. Switch from regular popcorn to this spicy remix or a cheesy variety, for starters. To really get in the mood, serve cuisine from the city it’s set in. Whether you’re dining on New York bagels, LA-style burritos, or New Orleans gumbo, it’ll make the whole experience feel more like you’re part of the show.

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Create a watch game

If you want to go the less-serious route, creating a game to play while watching the movie is a good way to keep things lively. Movie bingo is a perennial favorite, as is the classic “take a drink each time they ____.” Or, break out prizes when they first say the title of the movie on screen. If you’re hosting your event for an awards show, it’s even easier, since you can take bets on who’ll win each category, and even build a bracket amongst your guests.

Go black-tie only

There are two ways to go with your premiere’s dress code: For a classic Hollywood, awards-bait movie, you’ll want to go full formal. This is your chance to deck your place out, get fancy with your outfits, and make the vibe exclusive. If you’re more interested in a goofy, over-the-top event for a big action-movie sequel or season finale, costumes are the way to go. This allows for a coronation of a “best costume” category, with winners taking home some film-themed merch. Of course, nothing’s stopping you from combining these categories and letting guests decide whether to throw on a tux or a full-on superhero costume.

Build a goodie bag

Speaking of merch, it’s not hard to find movie swag even before premiere night. For a big-name series or sequel, action figures, bobbleheads, and posters will likely be available on launch day. If they aren’t, it’s not too hard to bootleg your own. You can also lean into the at-home movie theater vibe by making old-school takeaways like match books for cheap. Combine some movie merch, instant photos from the red carpet, and maybe an extra bag of snacks and you’ve got yourself a goodie bag worthy of a Hollywood afterparty.

Make it a star-studded affair

Having a celebrity appear at your premiere event is easier than ever, thanks to apps like Cameo. Hiring the star (or, more likely, the comedic relief) of the film premiering is often fairly affordable, and you can have them give your guests a personalized message and shout-out. It’s a great way to kick off the screening or finish the night. Of course, if you have the budget, you could always get someone to appear in-person by reaching out to a talent agency, but that would probably require lottery-winning money.

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