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COVID-19 Revives Drive-in Cinemas in Europe

COVID-19 Revives Drive-in Cinemas in Europe

Saturday, 30 May, 2020 - 06:00
People sit in cars, watching a movie trailer at a drive-in cinema in Essen, Germany, on March 30, 2020. /AP
Paris - Asharq Al-Awsat

Waiting for the reopening of cinemas after the pandemic, some European cities have seen a comeback of a classic almost-extinct tradition: open-air cinemas where cars park and spectators watch a big screen from their vehicles.

Millennials are not familiar with drive-in cinemas, although many of them saw the idea in the classic American movies of the 1950s. Today, Europe has borrowed the concept from the US aiming to offer an alternative for movie lovers during the lockdown.

In the southwestern French city of Bordeaux, an open car parking lot has been transformed into a drive-in cinema featuring a massive screen displaying movies for customers staying in their cars. Spectators can hear the movie on the radio, or to leave their vehicle and sit in distanced rows on the grass, in front of the screen.

Municipality officials welcomed the idea as it helps revive the social and cultural activity paralyzed since the lockdown measures were imposed to curb the covid-19 infections.

A few days ago, the city of Crist implemented the same idea with a 15x9 meter screen that displayed Martin Provost's "How to be a Good Wife" for spectators staying in their cars. This movie was released in French theaters on March 11, however, it screening was halted four days later due to the pandemic.

Reservations in the drive-in cinema are made online, and 120 cars are allowed to park, according to the municipality. Following the idea's success, weekly shows are set to be scheduled.

France is not the only country that allowed the organization of drive-in cinemas. Since the shutdown of clubs, coffee shops, nightclubs, cinemas, and theaters amid the pandemic, many European countries including Germany and Denmark have approved open-air cinemas, which ensure a necessary social distancing that cannot be achieved in the closed obscured theaters.

Lists featuring the titles and show times of scheduled movies are available on social media pages. Surprisingly, the young audience loved the concept, so open-air cinemas may not go away after the lockdown ends and the theaters open.

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