Outdoor cinema set to Pop Up with retro classics and new hits this summer

A start-up running outdoor cinemas in South West London unveiled its summer schedule, featuring new releases and retro hits.

Beginning in July, Pop Up Screens’ screenings take place in parks and include films such as Top Gun, The Goonies and The Greatest Showman.

And founder Dave Leydon believes this year will prove its best yet.

Dave said: “People come, they have a really good time, they like the films, you can bring your own food or we have good caterers and that’s that really.”

The run begins in Bishop’s Park, Fulham, on July 20 with The Breakfast Club and will be coming to Hammersmith’s Ravenscourt Park, Kingston’s Canbury Gardens and other London destinations before ending in September.

Pop Up Screens started eight years ago after a shoddy outdoor cinema experience left entrepreneur Leydon thinking he could do better.

“I think our secret is we’re just a really chilled-out experience,” he said.

“The vibe is that you’re watching a film with fans rather than just other strangers who’ve gone to a cinema. Everyone kind of gets into it.”

That, he says, explains the choice of cult classics like Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller on the lineup, which always draw a crowd.

“We try different things, some work, some don’t.

“I thought people would really go for Peter Pan last year. They didn’t.”

Nevertheless, the formula seems to be working, with the company showing forty films this summer compared to eight in their first year.

Leydon is happy, saying: “It’s a great job to have. I laugh way too much and get to meet new people every day during summer.”

“There are moments of hilarity. There’s always bound to be a couple getting a bit too amorous during Dirty Dancing.”

Pop Up’s caterers this year are Brighton’s Seaside Pizza Company.

The company are also trialling a VIP seating service, where for a bit extra punters can enjoy prime positioning and a drink.

Ordinary tickets cost £12.50, for which guests are expected to brave light rain or clouds if they come.

Leydon says: “Obviously in the case of gale-force winds we postpone and everyone gets a refund.

“But on a balmy summer’s night, there’s nothing better.”

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