Watching movies has been a popular pastime for about as long as any of us can remember. Though recent developments, such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and other streaming platforms exist, no one can deny the pleasure of going out to view a film with friends and family. Without a doubt, watching a movie while lying on the couch is very different from the sensation of going out to view a film. With the current restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, movie theaters are no longer an option in much of the country because of their unsafe nature. However, these closures have allowed for the growing popularity of a new cinematic experience: drive-in movies. Many individuals have flocked to these drive-in theaters because of their exciting atmosphere and safety precautions.
The first drive-in movie took place during the 1930s, in New Jersey. After becoming prevalent in the following decades, their popularity declined with the rise of Hollywood-style movies shown in theaters. Nevertheless, the appeal of drive-in movies has certainly been renewed with the current circumstances of the world. While in the past they were primarily located in Los Angeles and other large cities, many new drive-in theaters have been held in smaller towns and rural areas.
Drive-in’ offer a unique film-viewing option from the comfort of your own car, along with an ambience resembling that of a 1970s storyline. Nicole Liu, a sixteen year old in Orange County, California, found out about local drive-in movies from the internet, where she and her friends purchased tickets. Most venues charge between fifty to sixty dollars per car per showing, but a few locations, such as the Great Park in Irvine offer complimentary entrance. Nicole stated that she “would go again because it was a great experience and much more interesting than showings at traditional movie theaters”. She felt that the intimate environment of the event allowed for better bonding with her friends, and hopes to visit many more in the future.
Compared to traditional movie theaters, drive-in events are much safer, even without additional regulations. Because most people enjoy the film from their respective vehicles, they are generally less vulnerable to contact with others than those sitting in close proximity within an indoor theater. However, with the persistent threat of the coronavirus, several safety precautions have been put into place at these events: cars must be parked six feet apart, people must remain in their vehicles unless going to the restroom, and masks are mandatory when outside.
During these difficult times, many people may struggle to find safe ways to spend time with their loved ones. Although many activities we enjoyed prior to quarantine may not be possible at the moment, alternatives such as drive-in movies are a great option!