Does the ‘new normal’ mean it’s time for drive-in movie theaters to make a comeback?

Social distancing? Check
by Drei Laurel | May 7, 2020
PHOTO: Universal Pictures

The ‘new normal’ is going to take some getting used to. Once this pandemic is over, chances are you’re going to think twice about activities that, in pre-coronavirus times, you used to go about worry-free—concerts, conventions, and perhaps most commonly, watching movies at the cinema.

People learn to adjust, though. According to a report by the Washington Post, the drive-in movie theater business in the US is currently booming on account of the ongoing pandemic closing down indoor cinemas. It makes sense, as the setup naturally enforces social distancing by allowing people to watch films from the confines of their own personal vehicles. No crowds packed together, no problem.

This got us thinking: Is the new normal a great opportunity for drive-in movie theaters to make a comeback in the Philippines? Traditional indoor cinemas are closed and will be for the foreseeable future, and people won’t want to be packed in an air-conditioned setting with hundreds of strangers for the full length of a film.

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Granted, there will be downsides. You can’t expect the same level of quality from a drive-in cinema as you would from an indoor one.

For starters, the front seats of your car won’t offer the same level of comfort as a recliner in an air-conditioned premium cinema. Then there are the viewing angles—not all car models offer the same field of view. The sound may also be a problem depending on the quality of your vehicle’s entertainment setup, as you can expect modern drive-in theaters to utilize FM or Bluetooth transmitters. Oh, and there’s the chance of rain, too, since we live in the tropics. You’ll also need to take into account the business side of the idea: The logistics of it all, and how to make the setup profitable (you’ll need a hell of a big parking lot).

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It’ll be tough, but we think it can work. At the very least, cinema operators can open drive-in theaters temporarily to make up for the losses they’re currently stomaching. Besides, the novelty alone would be a major draw—we’re guessing plenty of motorists would want to try the experience.

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For the latest COVID-19 cases, check out reportr’s COVID-19 case trackerFor the latest news and updates on COVID-19, check out reportr.world/covid-19.

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PHOTO: Universal Pictures
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