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Friday, June 01 2018 22:15

Kicking Off the Backyard Movie Season with Lionsgate's "Early Man"

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This Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Lionsgate at Home...

They say that time flies when you're a parent, and that's something I never thought much about until we actually had kids. This summer marks two years of backyard movies at our house, or as I like to say it in the interest of sounding fancier: "The Backyard Cinema at Rock Father HQ proudly enters it's third season of screenings." If I was being ultra-cool with it, I'd go ahead and make a full schedule of films, but it's something that tends to happen on-the-fly. Pulling-off a backyard movie night is dependent on a few things, like our schedule, the availability of friends and neighbors to attend, weather, and just how badly the mosquitoes are biting. This week, we kicked-off our third summer of movies with Early Man, the latest film from Aardman, the award-winning tribe that brought you Wallace & GromitChicken Run, and Shaun the Sheep Movie. Complete with some special soccer balls that my friends at Lionsgate sent over (you may recall that I gave some away back in February when the film was in theaters), the backyard was set-up for fun as not only the first screening of the season, but the first on our new deck (which I still have to stain and finish furnishing). Would you believe that Early Man is sort of a sports film?

Own Early Man on Blu-ray, Digital HD and DVDIt's the Stone Age vs. the Bronze Age in a game of soccer (or "football" everywhere else in the world) as Dug the caveman (Eddie Redmayne) and his ridiculous friends posit a challenge to a group of invaders led by Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) in order to win back their home turf.

Directed by Nick Park, Early Man stars Academy Award-winner Eddie Redmayne (Best Actor, The Theory of Everything, 2014; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Tom Hiddleston (Avengers: Infinity WarThor: RagnarokKong: Skull Island), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), as well as Timothy Spall (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetHarry Potter Franchise).

So how do you host a backyard screening? It's actually pretty simple, and I've assembled ours in a manner that makes it mobile. In addition to screenings in our yard, I've actually taken all the gear down the street to the cul-de-sac for some movies near the park!

Early Man - Backyard Movie
Not Pictured: 13 kids running around behind me, climbing on the playhouse and kicking soccer balls.

Download FREE Printable Early Man activitiesClick here to download a FREE printable PDF Activity Book filled with Early Man fun!

To build your own backyard theater, you really only need these five simple items: 1 - An LED projector; 2- something to project from (iPad/Tablet/Laptop/Blu-ray Player/etc; 3 - Speaker/Speakers; 4- proper cables to connect all the devices; 5- something to project onto - Screen/Wall/Fence/etc.

Our current set-up includes the following:

The Rock Speakers are the newest addition - an appropriate one in fitting with the Stone Age theme of Early Man - but depending on how your individual set-up plays out, it can be tricky to run Bluetooth audio while outputting HDMI from your player to the projector, so results may very. 

Once you're set, all you have to do is pick a movie for the whole family to enjoy, and make sure to have some food and drinks on-hand! I'm not very crafty with the themed-foods, so I keep it simple with things like pizza and popcorn. As the season rolls on, be sure to follow me on Instagram to see what we're watching in the backyard here at Rock Father HQ. Early Man is available now on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD.

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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