A Form of Entertainment for the Entire Family
Back to the Drive-in
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 45m
Director(s): April Wright
Where To Watch: in select theaters on August 12, streaming later this fall.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, little did anyone know that a form of entertainment that came around shortly after the last pandemic in the US (1918) would rise to prominence again! The first-ever drive-in movie theater opened just 15 years after the 1918 flu pandemic hit. It was just outside Camden, New Jersey, and started by Richard Milton Hollingshead, Jr. of Whiz Auto Products Company (because, of course!)
At the height of the drive-in during the 1950s, there were over 4,000 screens across the US. As of 2020, only 549 drive-ins were in operation. However, they can offer an experience like nothing else. I had been to one drive-in in 1989/90 to see Tim Burton’s BATMAN as a child, an experience I’ll never forget. During the height of the pandemic, I was struggling to find ways to keep my family entertained. We tried our best to adhere to the protocols to protect our friends, family, and neighbors. It dawned on me one day that I should see if there were any drive-in theaters around us. Unfortunately, most were over an hour away, so we decided to make a trip of it and head to one to catch a double feature. We saw 1978s SUPERMAN (and ironically enough) 89’s BATMAN back to back.
I can only hope that this is an experience that my family will remember as I did. That’s what this entire film is about, not my experience but the world of drive-ins and their resurgence (and unfortunate unknown future.) While I can only hope drive-ins have a long future ahead, it isn’t an easy road. A costly venture for the owners with many hit-or-miss variables that can make or break an evening. This film dug into a select group of drive-ins across the country and how they’re coping now that the pandemic high turnout has faded away. Make sure to support these one-of-a-kind entertainment venues. Some of the drive-ins listed may be showing a screening of this specific documentary!
Depending on where you live, a drive-in is likely not far from you. A quick google search to verify times and shows is a must, but if you’ve never been or even if you have (we’re going again this fall), make some memories that you’ll remember forever.
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