Long distance movie nights are pretty much what it says on the packet. It’s you and your partner syncing up your preferred entertainment channel (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, to name a few) and simultaneously watching the same TV show or movie together. Most couples also use a phone call, a video call, text messages, online messaging or a chat room to discuss the movie as they’re watching it.
If you and your partner can’t be in the same physical movie theater together or curled up on the same couch, it’s the next best thing to a traditional movie date.
What are the benefits of a long distance movie night for couples?
Long distance movie nights blew up during the COVID lockdowns, with friends, family and couples staying connected despite being apart through the Power of Technology. Now that COVID is pretty much business as usual, long-distance couples have kept up the trend.
It’s easy to see why. The science says that couples who have a weekly date night are 3.5 times more likely to report being “very happy” in their relationship compared to those who didn’t have any specific ‘couple time’. Long-distance date nights can be tough to organize, especially if you’re in different time zones, but a long distance movie night is about as easy as it gets when it comes to virtual date nights.
While you might not be able to snuggle up under the same blanket, it’s a great way to stay connected and retain a taste of normalcy. Plus it’s a great excuse to break out the popcorn!
How to make a long distance movie night work
Organizing a simple long-distance movie night is straightforward:
- Get the same show or movie. Video streaming is your friend here! Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime – whatever your preferred streaming service is, make sure both you and your partner have access. Some services let multiple users on the same account stream on different devices/locations, but some don’t, so double check that before anything else. Some streaming services aren’t available in some countries. In this case, consider having one person rent the movie via iTunes or Google Movies or similar, and the other watch via subscription. Of course, this step leaves out the toughest part of the whole date – agreeing on what to watch – but we’ll leave that particular challenge for you to figure out yourselves!
- Pick a time for your movie night. Finding a time that works for you and your partner for a date night is hard enough when you’re in-person, but over long distance and possibly across time zones? It’s a real challenge. The ideal time for a movie date night is one where neither you nor your partner have anything booked in right after the movie ends. You don’t want to feel rushed – this is a date after all. We’re a bit biased, but we think that Cupla is a great solution to this issue. It’s a synced calendar app that can automatically find ideal date night times that work for both of you, regardless of time zone.
- Figure out how to chat. Nobody likes it when people are chatty at the movie theater – but you’re not at a movie theater! Hopping on a phone call, jumping on Zoom, texting, or messaging are all great options to connect with your partner about the movie. Without this important part, you’re not actually having a date night. You’re just watching the same thing at the same time. There’s a big difference!
- Make sure you are synced. Watching a movie that’s even a second or two out of step with your partner over long distance is super annoying. The punchline you’re only just hearing gets laughed over, the shock of a horror movie reveal gets spoiled, and the whole experience leaves you and your partner feeling out of sync. Literally. A simple countdown to hitting “play” can work, but that relies on your connections and computer speeds being similar.
Sort those 4 steps and you’re on your way to an awesome long distance date night. The syncing is the hardest step, so we’ve hunted down some apps to make things a little easier.
4 apps to help you with a long distance movie night
Depending on what device/streaming service you’re using for your movie, there are a few different choices for apps that can sort out the syncing side for you and your partner. These include:
Some of the above also include built-in text, video and/or audio chatting too, so no need to have a separate device for talking.
Apps are super handy in long distance relationships. If you want to upgrade your LDR, check out our article on the must-have apps for long distance couples.
Extra tips and tricks
- Set up a recurring date night time. The power of long distance date nights is that you can have them from anywhere – the tricky part is organizing the time. The easiest solution is to decide on an hour or two every week that you dedicate to just time together. That way, you’ll always have an opportunity to connect.
- Double check timing on the night. Communication is key in any relationship, but for LDRs, it’s even more important! Double check with your partner (and if they’re the forgetful sort, remind them) that the times still work for them on the day.
- Be clear about your commitments. If you’re watching an especially long movie or a series, make sure you’re both clear about whether you’re watching it together or if you can “skip ahead” independently. We know, sometimes the call to watch just one more episode is super tempting! But the last thing either of you want to do is spoil the show you both love and have decided to make a core part of your dedicated time together.
- Get creative with themes. If you want to take your movie night to the next level, fix up some themed food, drinks, lighting, maybe even costumes! That way, not only are you both watching the same thing together, but you can share even more of the experience and connect more deeply with each other (and the show/movie!).
A movie night is a simple way to connect with your partner no matter how far away they are. What’s not so simple is finding (or making) the time when you’re both living busy lives. Cupla can handle that for you, providing an easy way to sync your calendars and automatically find the perfect date night time for you (even across timezones!). Trial it now for free on iOS or Android.