Contact-free cinemas? Coronavirus sees drive-in movies take off in Australia and around the world

OSTN Staff

Cinephiles around the world are embracing drive-in cinemas as a way to get the thrill of watching films on the big screen while staying safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the US, supermarket behemoth Walmart is offering moviegoers a unique experience by transforming store car parks into drive-in cinemas.

Film buffs can enjoy a contact-free and socially distanced cinema experience, watching the big screen from the safety of their cars.

Walmart has partnered with film production company Tribeca to deliver a program of summer flicks, and attendees can order popcorn and other essentials for kerbside pickup before the start of the movie.

“Drive-ins have been a signature program for Tribeca since we started the Tribeca Film Festival 19 years ago after 9/11,” Tribeca boss Jane Rosenthal said.

Drive-in movies are ‘much more than a fun, retro way to see movies – it’s one of the safest ways for communities to gather’.

Drive-in cinemas have proven a hit around the world during the pandemic.

“Across the world, there was also another surprising change: a resurgence of the drive-in. Attendance in South Korea boomed. In Germany, you could attend a drive-in rave. In America, there was even drive-in strip clubs,” Victoria University senior lecturer in screen media Marc C-Scott wrote in The Conversation.

With a heightened sense of personal need to social distance, even as more cinemas across Australia start to reopen, is it time for the drive-in to shine again?’’

For those who prefer the comfort of cinema seats over their car, movie theatres around Australia are now beginning to reopen their doors, with a few changes.

Cinemas will implement strict 1.5-metre social distancing procedures and staggered session times to allow staff to disinfect theatres.

Fewer people will be allowed in per screening, with most movie theatres capping sessions at 20 people.

But before you rush out and spend a small fortune on popcorn and choc tops, it might be worth checking to see exactly what’s on offer.

The pandemic has delayed many upcoming feature films, and with tumbleweeds still blowing over most sets in Hollywood, we aren’t likely to get more than a few new releases in Australian theatres any time soon.

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