UPDATE: The first @TheDriveIn films have been officially announced. Look out for ‘Grease’, ‘Joker’, ‘Toy Story’, ‘The Lion King’, ‘A Star is Born’ and ‘Back to the Future’ (we’re assuming it’s free entry if you show up in a DeLorean) showing in 12 UK cities between July 9 and October. London screenings take place at as-yet unannounced locations in south London (July 9-12) and east London (Sep 18-20). The first tranche of tickets are sold out, with another batch going on sale at noon on Tuesday June 2.
If your taste in films growing up was as American as a 700-degree McDonald’s apple pie, chances are you’ve fantasised about seeing a movie at a drive-in. For most of us, that first sight of a drive-in theatre was in ‘Grease’, back when we were too young to understand that the scene was pretty disturbing.
That idea of being snuggled under a blanket in the front seat with a packet of Milk Duds and a box of butter-soaked popcorn, listening to a film blare out of a car radio, is too synonymous with old teen movies to ever seem real, but pop-up drive-in cinemas have appeared in the UK in the past. Right now, as cinemas remain closed, being contained in a vehicle with your lockdown cohabitees for some communal film watching seems like the ideal solution.
We were wondering when ‘all this’ would prompt someone to make this Americana fantasy come true, with added social-distancing measures, and it’s finally happened: Suzuki Presents @TheDriveIn is coming to 12 cities around the UK this summer.
The first screenings will be in south London this July (films to be announced) with the season ending in east London in September. The plan is to set up an LED screen, and a system that will allow drivers/ticket holders to be recognised by their licence plate to allow for a no-contact experience. All cars will be parked the recommended two-metre distance apart. There will be other entertainment, too, including silent car discos, bingo and stand-up comedy. Milk Duds aren’t on the snack menu, but there will be a food delivery app that lets you order hot and cold treats to your car via ‘roller waiters’ (how the ‘distance’ part will work while a waiter is wheeling up to your window is unclear). The drive-in will also be pulling up in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Southhampton, Brighton, Cardiff, Bristol and Liverpool.
The American feel might be hampered by the distinct lack of Cadillacs, so you’ll just have to use your imagination when surrounded by all the Ford Fiestas and VW Golfs.
Tickets for @The DriveIn start at £35 per car and go on sale May 27.
If you’d rather stay at home, you can still communal film-watch at these virtual movie clubs.