Pandemic Brings Back Drive-In Movie Theaters


Kimberly Platas, Staff Writer

Drive-in movie theaters are back again?! The answer is yes! Drive-in theaters have begun to reopen again and people are just excited about it! But why are people excited about something that hasn’t been done in years?  The reason is simple. It brings back an experience for families and friends to be together and enjoy a movie with delicious snacks in your car! But aside from just watching a movie, it also applies social distancing rules due to COVID-19.

Drive-in movie theaters started back in the early 1930s when a person in New Jersey named Richard Hollingshead invented the first drive-in theater on June 6th, 1933. After creating a mini drive-in for his mother, Hollingshead had the idea of creating a solution for not just his mother but for all of the people who felt uncomfortable sitting in movie theater chairs.

His solution for drive-ins didn’t become popular at first, but it somehow took off during the late 1950s and early 1960s! During this era, most families liked the idea of watching a movie in a car because it gave them more space and flexibility than indoor theaters. Not only did it gave families a fun time, but it also gave teenagers and couples a chance to enjoy themselves as well! Even a scene from the movie Grease was shown when main characters Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson are together watching a movie at a drive-in.

Many people loved movie drive-ins until they declined in the early 1970s. The reason was that drive-ins were built on cheap land so when property values and taxes rose up, the drive-ins were a no-go. They were later torn down and were replaced with other properties. The popularity of drive-ins didn’t last long but at least it was something that worked. Fortunately for family entertainment, this made Richard Hollingshead’s solution a success.

There are barely any drive-in movie theaters left in the US — Quartz
A chart of the years declines of drive-in movie theaters in the US.

Yet why is Hollingshead’s idea of drive-ins making a come-back recently?  Is it because families want to watch movies, but can only do so safely in their cars? Or is it because parents want to bring back something that they grew up with and for the younger generation to know about? The reasons are still unclear, but either way, both reasons lead to fun and everlasting moments for families, teenagers, and couples to enjoy.