The coronavirus pandemic changed the world we have known and there is no guarantee that it will come back as it was. Simple things that we took for granted nowadays are not possible like going to theaters, cinemas, dinners with friends or simple relaxing walks in the park.
COVID-19 for sure changed our way of living, and the consequences of these pandemic will be still experienced.
The social life is put to a minimum, over 40,000 big screens have been closed for an indefinite amount of time, and there is no known date for their reopening, and if all of them will be opened. It is believed that a quarter of all theaters could close down for good due to the upcoming economic crisis.
Watching movies is our biggest entertainment and although most of us have flat screens at home there is nothing like enjoying a movie on a big screen. Well, we can still get that amazing experience if the drive-in theaters are back. These theaters were very popular in the 1960s, which at the current coronoavirus situation would be the ideal entertainment for many of us. The social distancing guidelines laid out by state authorities will be observed, but we can still be outside and have some fun time.
The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, predicts that the drive-in theatres will be popular vey soon:
“Where is the public safety issue? It’s a drive-in theater. You’re in the car with the same people.”
Currently, there are around 320 drive-in theaters across the states, but only 25 of them are working. In these theatres it has been reported that the ticket sales while the pandemic were “steady but not spectacular.” Considering the fact that there are no new Hollywood movies as a result of the coronavirus restrictions the sales of the tickets are still doing well. Plus, all premiers of summer blockbusters of many prestigious studios have been delayed.
This is the situation in the states, but across the Atlantic these theatres are very popular. Namely, in South Korea and Germany, people are even lining up to watch films in drive-ins.
In Europe, Germany, there are two year-round drive-in venues, and the famous open-air theater Autokino Essen sold out all its tickets for every screening since government lockdown started from early March.
The manager of Autokino Essen, Frank Peciak, said that people like this type of movie screening. In fact, he stated that no matter what they show,” people just want to get out and watch a movie”, and their screenings are sold out weeks in advance.
In Cologne, the situation is the same; the drive-in theater is also fully booked. This theater can accept up to 250 cars parked on their 1,000-capacity lot. The tickets are being scanned by a gloved employee via closed window.
Dusseldorf is also another city that has set up many drive-in theatres, one of them was set up in the parking lot of the Dusseldorf Trade Fair by the event management company D.Live.
Many owners of drive-ins in the states believe that these theatres will become very popular again. The New York, Warwick Drive-In owner Beth Wilson stated the following:
“Whatever the state wants us to do, we’re willing to do. We want people to enjoy going out, but in a safe environment. If you’re in your car with an average family — two parents in the front seat and two kids in the back — you’re sitting in a car with people you’re within the house. It’s a little outing.”
Likewise, Thomas, the Showboat Drive-In Theater owner in Texas, states that the drive-in business will grow “because people will have fears of gathering in public”, and “people will come because they want that sense of normalcy.”
The movie industry is facing a new challenge as its future is being shattered, but the senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore stated the following:
“The desire for people to somehow recapture the singular, irreplaceable, communal big-screen movie theater experience in any way they can is a testament to how important the movie going experience is. Particularly during these obviously trying and unprecedented times.”