Coronavirus UK: 1950s style drive-in cinemas could make a come back

The owners of One Drive-In cinema based in Manchester have said their drive-in “does adhere to the government’s social distancing policy”. They added: ”There are one metre parking spaces between each car and customers will only be alowed to visit the toilets one by one.” The owners also argued drive-ins are a solution to the current lockdown and said they would be, “up and running in the next few weeks if the Government lift their ‘only essential travel’ guidelines”.

The One Drive-In cinema is operated by the One Agency, and are planning to screen events at Manchester’s EventCity.

This will allow cinema-goers the chance to experience the silver screen, but still adhere to the Government’s strict social distancing guidelines.

It comes as cinemas and theatres across the country are forced to close to try and halt the spread of Covid-19.

The company said that there will be two family-friendly, feel-good screenings each day, ranging from U-certified through to 12As.


Films on the programme include Mary Poppins Returns, The Secret Life of Pets 2, and Toy Story 4.

Families can also expect to see the live-action remake of The Lion King, Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, The Lego Movie: The Second Part, and Avengers: Endgame.

In the southeast of England, Surrey’s Cinestock drive-in cinema also has adapted to suit the needs of film-lovers.

Their website stated: “We’re back for 2020 with our world only indoor Drive-in Cinema nights, with the current COVID -19 Virus situation, we’ve been busy behind the scenes to bring back our world only Indoor Drive-in screenings.”


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Owners of The Drive-In Movie in South Shield near Newcastle in the North East of England have said that if the months of lockdown go on into the summer and beyond, then opening up the Drive-in cinema as an entertainment solution is “Something that they would think about.”

In recent years drive-in cinema’s were already having a renaissance.

More and more people are jumping in their cars and making the trip to their nearest drive-in cinema for a unique experience, that’s making a big comeback.

Germany is leading the way in re-introducing drive-in cinemas as an entertainment solution to this lockdown era.

At a newly opened drive-in cinema in the city of Essen, only two persons are allowed per car.

The tickets are available only online and no snacks are sold to limit social contacts.

During the 1950s drive-in cinemas became a cultural phenomenon, the novelty of watching movies outdoors had long been established.

But it was 1950s America, a period in time subject to plenty of nostalgia and homage, in which they really took off and became iconic of that era.

A classic example of why drive-in cinemas are synonymous with 1950s America is the film Grease (1978), where Danny and Sandy go to a drive-in to watch the classic horror film The Blob (1958).

By the end of the 1950s, there were over 4,000 drive-in cinemas scattered across the USA.

This is largely due to car technology reaching a point where car-heaters and air conditioning became standard, allowing for drive-in cinemas to stay open all year round.

But with the emergence of video rentals and land sales in the 1970s and 1980s, drive-in cinemas suffered a heavy decline.

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