Drive-In Movie Theaters Are a Thing This Summer

The coronavirus pandemic, which has changed the way of life, has returned interest in car cinemas. People in self-isolation wanted more and more to leave the house and watch a movie, not on the monitor. Keeping visitors safe in their cars proved to be a fairly straightforward task. If you’re into movies so much that you can’t wait for theaters to open back and Netflix just doesn’t fill that void because you want to be in a crowd, then there’s an option for you – drive-in theaters.


By the late 1950s, there were more than 4,000 car theaters in the United States. There was no opportunity to watch new movies at home, and the space of the car instead of the common room gave a unique sense of privacy. It’s not for nothing that auto movie theaters quickly became a popular dating destination. But everything comes to an end, in the 1970s there was an increase in prices for both gasoline and land, which affected the profitability of many open-air cinemas. In a sense, this has become a problem.

The era of mass drive-in cinemas ended with the triumphant march of VHS players across the United States. Symbolically, one of the cinemas in Pennsylvania was destroyed by a tornado in 1985. A popular joke at the time said that afterward, the owners put up a Gone With the Wind poster. With the development of television, various players, and then the Internet, the popularity of drive-in cinemas declined. However, in 2019, there were still 305 of them in America.

It’s a nostalgic thing

Back in the days, drive-in movie theaters were more popular and it seems like they’re coming back as a solution for us to watch movies and still follow the current rules of self-distancing.


Regular movie theaters cannot operate as they used to as they are not really capable of ensuring that each visitor is keeping his distance. But drive-ins are a different thing, when all the visitors are in their cars it’s way safer.

It’s an activity just like a visit to a regular theater

It’s worth mentioning that visiting drive-in theatre is also a whole outdoor action – you take your car, your friends, and snacks and you go out. It’s better and safer than going to malls or cafés.

What to wear?

Drive-in is an American invention, and, like many things in America, it was designed to make people themselves. Popcorn drizzled with salted fat for nutrition is not a question, sex in the back seat – of course, legs on the steering wheel – we rest. To look grand and strained is the last thing for the summer. Drive-in is a story not about trends, but about youth, friendship, and love. The first rule of dress code for any outdoor event is mosquito repellent: nocturnal creatures like vampires and zombies will eat and drink from evening to morning. The second rule is your favorite T-shirt with a ketchup stain, mom’s shorts, and a colorful scarf for which there is never a reason; their finest hour has come. Flip flops, a large backpack with jeans or a sweater for yourself and a chilling girlfriend, a bottle of vanilla cola – that will be enough. A cap will also come in handy so that when all the movie characters get bored, meet the dawn in a car with earplugs in your ears, hiding from the sun under a visor.

The repertoire of car cinemas, as a rule, is formed from time-tested cinematographers. Premieres of fresh releases are rare here. However, for this summer, when the global film industry froze, this is not a very urgent problem. Nevertheless, new items are still found. For example, Guy Ritchie’s Gentlemen.

Now open-air cinema is experiencing a rebirth. Modern technology allows enthusiasts to open “homemade cinemas” in their backyards and streets. Antique fashion contributes to the opening of new venues and the reanimation of cinemas of the 50s. Nostalgic Americans are actively buying tickets for the sessions. All is well that ends well.

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter