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Movies in a Covid world – The case for the return of the Drive In

Tanutam Thawan



One of the industries hard hit by the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak has been the film industry. At both ends the industry has been shuttered – the making of the movies and then the watching of the movies in cinemas.

At some stage the movie making machine will chug back to life and, sometime, we’ll be allowed to go back to the cinemas to enjoy expensive bottles of water and over-priced popcorn. In the meantime there has been a surge of ideas to get people back to the movies whilst we wait for some sort of new-normal to emerge.

Direct to TV, to be enjoyed whilst you eat pizzas whilst sitting in your underwear at home, has been an option but, hey, we want the experience of the really big screen and the shared audience reaction.

Whilst the concept of the Drive In has never been big in Thailand, it was a ‘thing’ in many western countries for a certain generation. Indeed attending (or enduring) a film at the Drive In was a right of passage. There are plenty of roof-top cinemas and other small scale outside versions but it’s not quite the same as rolling up in your car, reclining the seat and turning the sound up loud in your very own car.

Cars are spaced out across a plot of land, in a very appropriately social-distanced manner. Maybe the scourge of Covid-19 is what we needed for a second wave of Drive Ins. For Thailand, it would be something new. The technology is simple – all you need is a car, an FM radio (to hear the soundtrack), a HUGE screen, an equally HUGE digital projector and an open area.

According to Comscore, out of 306 drive in theatres in the US, only about 50 are currently open. Australia had the third highest number of drive-ins of all countries, only behind the US and Canada. Currently, most have closed and there are only 16 remaining drive in theatres still operating in Australia.

Please answer the questions in our little mini survey and let’s reflect on the past memories (some I am certainly unable to publish), likes, dislikes, antics and favourite moments at the once-popular drive in theatres.

[poll id=”5″]

Movies in a Covid world - The case for the return of the Drive In | News by Thaiger


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