The Resurgence of Drive-In Movie Theaters

Theatres act as cultural hubs that enrich our lives and communities. Our artists and craftspeople are passionate about supporting the arts in all their forms, so it’s no surprise that in our 40 plus years we have revitalized hundreds of theatres across the country. 

Before the pandemic, we planned to participate in a night out at the theater with April Wright, a director and filmmaker who has a passion for telling stories about the places people go to view movies and performances. We had hoped in March to sit side-by-side with fellow moviegoers (mask-free) and view her 2019 film “Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace” followed by a Q&A with Wright and our founder, Jeff Greene.

In a matter of months, everything about the movie-going experience has changed. We’ve started to bring back some nostalgic memories and head to the drive-ins for summer movie-going fun. Drive-in movie theaters are now gaining popularity just when they seemed to become more of a thing of the past. Since many movie theaters and performing arts theaters have temporarily closed to contain the spread of the COVID-19, movie-lovers have been flocking to drive-ins more this summer than in recent years to have fun while social distancing.

Not only are drive-ins functioning in their traditional role, but they are also being reimagined into event spaces. Concerts, graduations, and weddings are just a few of the creative ways people are using drive-ins beyond the classic theater venue. It really goes to show that we can’t live without our theaters!

Many people across the country have grown a deeper appreciation for the drive-in theater amidst the limitations of a pandemic. Even though we weren’t able to hold our event with Wright to view and discuss her movie live, we’d like to encourage you to pop some popcorn in the comfort of your own home and rent her 2013 film entitled “Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-In Movie.” The film, which can be found on Amazon Prime, surveys how the movie industry has transformed over the years with changes in technology and cultural norms. 

We hope to reschedule our event with Wright and perhaps broaden our discussion to the importance of our drive-in theaters while our beloved movie palaces have closed.