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Drive-in movie theaters
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Brace yourselves for the return of the drive-in movie theater

Did you know there are 306 drive-in movie theaters across the United States?

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

As we slowly prepare for the advent of a new normal, industries across the country are scrambling to figure out what exactly that will look like.

The film industry, which was hit hard by the near complete shuttering of movie theaters across the globe, has come up with different strategies to provide entertainment while still abiding by stay-at-home orders. Initially, plans included straight-to-video releases, as the likes of Trolls World Tour landed on demand directly, entirely skipping theatrical runs. But now, as social distancing guidelines loosen up a bit, people in the industry are trying to find ways to put folks in front of some sort of large screen—like that of a drive-in movie theater.

According to Comscore, out of 306 drive-in theaters in the Untied States, only about 50 are currently open. A newly announced partnership between Tribeca Enterprises, IMAX and AT&T is hoping to increase that number through a summer program that will play a curated selection of films and special events at drive-in theaters and other venues all around the country. The initiative, dubbed Tribeca Drive-In, will launch on June 25. 

“We’re excited to give people something to look forward to this summer and reinvent a classic moviegoing experience for communities to enjoy together safely,” said Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro in an official statement announcing the news. 

Although the lineup and a list of participating locations have not yet been disclosed, the press release mentions a "roll out to markets across the country throughout the summer" featuring "a curated selection of new, classic and independent films, as well as special music and sports events."

The involvement of IMAX means exactly what you think it does: The giant-screen specialists there will digitally remaster the sound and images of all films that will be presented. They will also make their vast library available for Tribeca Enterprises to draw from for its lineup.

Although state governments are working on their own timelines, the film industry doesn't expect indoor theaters to open until mid-July (Disney is planning on releasing Mulan to theaters on July 24, while Warner Bros. hopes to kick things off on July 17 with Christopher Nolan's Tenet). That said, if Tribeca Drive-In turns out to be a hit, we personally wouldn't mind catching new releases in the open air.  

And the film industry isn't the only one making use of these types of venues. Electronic music Marc Rebillet—known for throwing dance party-like concerts—announced a summer tour held at drive-ins throughout the USA.  

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