Drive-In Theaters Rediscovered Thanks to Corona

Drive-in theater in Ottawa, Canada

The novel coronavirus is keeping us all cooped up in our homes. But not completely. Some businesses have hit on the drive-in as a way for people to get out of their homes and have some fun.

With the advent of technological advances that allow us to watch movies in the comfort of home, drive-in facilities had mainly closed down or seen greatly reduced crowds. Now, however, drive-in movie theaters and other sources of car-contained entertainment are experiencing a major comeback. Already back in March, the two-screen Paramount Drive-In doubled sales, welcoming 136 cars and selling 320 tickets.

Paramount Drive-In definitely showed the way, with gloved attendants ensuring that drivers never have to leave their cars, and with cars advised not to park directly next to other cars, to maintain social distancing. Since that time, other entertainment providers have followed suit. A new pop-up drive-in movie theater, for example, Park Up DC, has opened up at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. This is not your old-fashioned drive-in movie theater. Ticket holders watch movies on a 45-foot wide HD LED digital screen with the sound delivered through each car’s FM radio.

The Drive-In Elsewhere

Israel, meantime, is looking into delivering concerts and other entertainment drive-in style, thanks to an arrangement between two important Israeli ministries, those of health and culture. Entertainment is to be delivered for up to 200 vehicles at one time, with a single usher for every 20 cars. A distance of 6 feet between the cars in the massive open space, will be enforced.

But it’s not clear how long the trend of drive-in entertainment will continue. For now, however, such theaters and concerts are a creative way for a couple or family to get out without really getting out. At the very least, it makes a change from staring at the same four walls of your apartment or home. The idea of reviving this nearly extinct form of entertainment is rather charming, and may serve to help invigorate a flagging economy during a particularly difficult downturn.

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