During These Unprecedented Times Drive-In Movie Theaters Are Booming

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

With the outbreak of novel coronavirus, social life has taken a huge blow. With social distancing norms and stay-at-home orders in place, people have lost the feeling of going out. The new way of living is simply binge-watching Netflix, and playing board games with the family. 

The new trend has affected businesses all over the US. Restaurants and bars have seen an economic downfall, since March, when the social distancing rules were applied. The laws in place, businesses got a severe blow. So, restaurants all over the US decided to revive the old trend of drive-in movie theaters. They soon found out that this idea was very popular among the public, who were tired of staying back at home. This method started bringing in clientele, and also offered a safe way for entertaining the crowd. 

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Businesses found it difficult to survive in the time of the pandemic. With carry-out and delivery systems in order, it was harder to stay afloat. The new drive-in idea came to rescue, and businesses saw a surge in their sales. The idea helped to bring back the nostalgia of old school and also provided as a medium for families and couples to enjoy a meal outside. When the world is shutting down due to the COVID-19 situation, the restaurants decided to take the style of entertainment back to the old times. 

Peoples Restaurant and Lounge in Corpus Christi, Texas saw its revenue dry up due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, when they announced the screening of Toy Story 4 in their parking lot, on April 18th, business sprang high and open once again. Both new and old customers bought the tickets at once. Co-owner Joe Gonzalez told Corpus Christi Caller Times, that they were in awe at the rate at which the tickets got sold out. 


In Mingus, Texas, another restaurant decided to revive the old trend last month. Clint Gibson, the owner of BJ’s Restaurant and Bar, posted on Facebook saying that they were screening the film Sandlot on Friday and Saturday night. He said, “we will have a waitress car hop so come sit in your car and turn your radio to 90.3 FM to hear the movie and hang out”. They also played Dirty Dancing and Tombstone with a $10 charge for every vehicle. 

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Tex-Mex cantina The Corner Kick, in Omaha, Nebraska was able to fit 35 vehicles as they screened the comedy classic The Three Amigos, in three different screens across the side of the building. Food & Wine reports that in Arizona, Ajo Al’s group of Mexican restaurants have set up inflatable screens in the parking lots to play movies. They are playing the Pixar favorite, Coco, as customers park their cars six feet apart and enjoy the takeout chips and queso. 

Keeping up to the idea of “pop-up drive-in theaters” have cost restaurants like V Pizza in North Carolina their license, for disobeying the stay-at-home orders. Many other restaurants have faced legal problems with the movie studios for copyright duties. 


Drive-ins began before the polio vaccine was discovered and it was advertised to parents as a medium of entertainment where they could protect their children and themselves from the local epidemics. With the availability of color television and video rental shops, this trend lost its hype. The revival of this medium has raised the hope of the public that the world might go back to its original beauty.

Image Credit:  James 



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