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Rooftop Cinema Club
Photograph: Courtesy Rooftop Cinema Club

Rooftop Cinema Club is returning as a drive-in on an airport tarmac in Santa Monica

The series takes over Santa Monica Airport with as many as three screenings on most days.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

We’ve been tracking L.A.’s very-different outdoor movie season this year, and there’ve been two notable absences: Rooftop Cinema Club and sizable drive-ins on the Westside. Well, problem solved.

Rooftop Cinema Club is returning to L.A. this fall, and it’s ditching its building-topping format in favor of a drive-in. This time around, it’ll be setting up in a sprawling lot on the edge of the tarmac at Santa Monica Airport (planted firmly on the ground—not on a rooftop, despite its pre-existing name).

The series launches on November 27 with an opening “We Love L.A.” weekend that features screenings of locally-set classics like GreaseCluelessPulp FictionLa La Land and Love & Basketball. After that, you’ll find a slate of largely holiday films that stretches through the end of December—complete with an invitation to deck out your car in holiday lights or tinsel (kits will be available for sale, too).

Speaking of on sale, tickets are available now for dates through the end of December, with up to three screenings per night from Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets to either or the two later screenings cost $32 per car up to two people, or $45 per car for three or more guests; the 5:15pm matinee is $30 per car regardless of the number of passengers. On Wednesdays, matinees only run between $5 and $10 per vehicle, and 100% of the sales from these screenings during the holiday season will benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. No matter the day, guests are invited to drop sometime in an on-site food drive box.

Rooftop Cinema Club
Photograph: Courtesy Rooftop Cinema Club

Rooftop Cinema Club is no stranger to L.A.; it’s held open-air rooftop screenings in both Hollywood and Downtown L.A. for the past few years. It skipped this summer, though, while it set up a bunch of drive-in screenings in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Tampa. The procedures here in Santa Monica will look pretty similar to those and other local drive-in screenings: You’re required to watch the film from your vehicle, and you must wear a mask if you leave to use the bathroom or pick up food (available via a contactless ordering system, though you’re welcome to bring your own).

As for the venue itself, it easily lands among the largest tier of pop-up drive-ins that we’ve seen, with space for about 150 cars, each spaced 10 feet apart from each other and pointed toward a 52-foot screen (you’ll have to tune in to the audio via your FM radio). If you’re trying to figure out where exactly at the airport it’ll be held, plug Airport Interim Open Space into your map app of choice; the former airplane parking lot and future park is located just off Bundy Drive. From there—deep breath—turn right onto Airport Avenue, drive past the soccer field, turn right onto Donald Douglas Loop, follow that to the end, turn right into a small parking lot and then left into the drive-in (we’re sure there’ll be signs).

We’ll keep track of any schedule changes or additions on our Rooftop Cinema Club listing, but for now, check out the just-announced schedule below.

Fri, Nov 27:

– 7pm: Grease (1978)
– 10pm: Friday (1995)

Sat, Nov 28:

– 5:15pm: Coco (2017)
– 8pm: Clueless (1995)
– 10:30pm: Pulp Fiction (1994)

Sun, Nov 29:

– 5:15pm: Shrek (2001)
– 7:45pm: La La Land (2016)
– 11pm: Love & Basketball (2000)

Wed, Dec 2:

– 5:15pm: Happy Feet (2006)
– 8pm: Elf (2003)
– 10:30pm: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Thu, Dec 3:

– 5:15pm: Frozen II (2019)
– 8pm: Jurassic Park (1993)
– 11pm: Poetic Justice (1993)

Fri, Dec 4:

– 5:15pm: The Greatest Showman (2017)
– 8pm: Home Alone (1990)
– 10:45pm: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Sat, Dec 5:

– 5:15pm: The Princess & the Frog (2009)
– 7:30pm: Love Actually (2003)
– 10:45pm: Selena (1997)

Wed, Dec 9:

– 5:15pm: Arthur Christmas (2011)
– 8pm: Elf (2003)
– 10:30pm: Scream (1996)

Thu, Dec 10:

– 5:15pm: Polar Express (2004)
– 8pm: Home Alone (1990)
– 10:45pm: Die Hard (1988)

Fri, Dec 11:

– 5:15pm: Elf (2003)
– 8pm: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
– 10:30pm: Friday (1995)

Sat, Dec 12:

– 5:15pm: The Polar Express (2004)
– 8pm: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
– 10:30pm: The Holiday (2006)

Sun, Dec 13:

– 5:15pm: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
– 7:30pm: A Christmas Story (1983)
– 10pm: Black Christmas (1974)

Wed, Dec 16:

– 5:15pm: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (2000)
– 8pm: Home Alone (1990)
– 10:45pm: Die Hard (1988)

Thu, Dec 17:

– 5:15pm: Ice Age (2002)
– 7:30pm: Elf (2003)
– 10pm: The Holiday (2006)

Fri, Dec 18:

– 5:15pm: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
– 7:30pm: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
– 10pm: Friday (1995)

Sat, Dec 19:

– 5:15pm: Frozen (2015)
– 8pm: Home Alone (1990)
– 10:45pm: Love Actually (2003)

Sun, Dec 20:

– 5:15pm: The Polar Express (2004)
– 8pm: Home Alone (1990)
– 10:45pm: Elf (2003)

Mon, Dec 21:

– 5:15pm: The Grinch (2018)
– 7:45pm: Elf (2003)
– 10:30pm: Love Actually (2003)

Tue, Dec 22:

– 5:15pm: Elf (2003)
– 7:45pm: Elf (2003)
– 10:30pm: Die Hard (1988)

Wed, Dec 23:

– 5:15pm: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
– 7:30pm: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
– 10:45pm: Elf (2003)

Sat, Dec 26:

– 5:15pm: Frozen II (2019)
– 8pm: Jurassic Park (1993)
– 11pm: Selena (1997)

Mon, Dec 28:

– 5:15pm: Sing (2016)
– 8pm: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
– 11pm: The Fifth Element (1997)

Tue, Dec 29:

– 5:15pm: The Goonies (1985)
– 8pm: Back to the Future (1985)
– 11pm: Poetic Justice (1993)

Wed, Dec 30:

– 5:15pm: Tangled (2010)
– 8pm: Pretty Woman (1990)
– 11pm: The Great Gatsby (2013)

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