Want to catch up with a movie? What would you usually do?

Drive to your nearby mall, park your car, buy tickets and settle down in the usual cramped seat (unless you’re ready to spend more and get comfortable). Just ponder over the thought of directly driving your car right up to the screen and watching a film from your personal space. Interesting, isn’t it?

That’s exactly what the concept of a drive-in theater is. Drive-in theaters are theaters with a huge projection screen, facing a huge open ground where people drive and park their cars to watch a movie whilst sitting in the comfort of their own car. Let us dive into some of the details of a drive-in theater.

The History:

The very initial attempts of drive-in theaters were made in USA before 1920 but they could not remain operational for long due to logistical difficulties. It was then patented later on for the 1st time in 1932 in New Jersey by Mr. Richard Hollingshead.

The Set-Up:

Many of the drive-in theaters have set-up play areas for children as well as some food stalls. So the entire experience becomes very quirky and unusual. Families with kids adore the experience as their kids remain entertained as well while they enjoy their movie. Couples on a date night also relish the idea of watching a movie in the comfort of their car opposed to watching it in a theater surrounded by a crowd.

The Sound Effect:

Earlier drive-ins used to provide the sound system through a speaker attached to the screen but the loud noise usually created a menace which attracted some legal issues to spark up. Then came the time where individual speakers were attached to all the cars but that too required a lot of wiring. Now-a-days these old systems have been superseded by more economical and convenient method of broadcasting the soundtrack. They play the audio over a particular FM frequency that the cars can catch easily and also adjust the volume to a particular high or low as per their convenience.

Drive-ins in India:

India has had its experiments with the drive-in theaters too! The foremost city to get into this venture was Ahmadabad in the year 1973. It is still functional and can accommodate as many as 665 cars. Another city to delve into this experimental cinematic experience is Chennai and its theater is named the Prarthna Theater located on the east coast road. The home town of Bollywood, ‘Mumbai’ is also in the process of setting up its drive-in theater at Bandra Kurla Complex.

The Benefits:

  • The screen is very big. So whether you are sitting in your car or even if you need to move out of it for grabbing some food for yourself, you cannot miss out the sequences on the screen. Now don’t you think this is awesome?
  • Drive-in theaters gain weightage on the privacy factor. Though you are not sitting on the couch of your living room but you can still watch the movie with your friends or family comfortably cocooned in your car. I give full marks to this concept of watching a movie. How about you?

Drawbacks:

  • Its turns out to be heavier on your pockets as compared to the regular theaters.
  • Bugs and mosquitoes can actually detriment your enjoyment as it is in an open space.
  • Timings are limited as the screenings can happen only post sunset.

Conclusion:

So whether the drive-in cinema concept will ever be able to get on par with our current cinematic system or not is a question which only time can answer. But I do think that it is definitely worth a try. So folks, get into your cars and head to a drive-in theater whenever you get an opportunity. I, too hope that a drive-in theater comes up soon somewhere nearby so that I can relax and cuddle in the comfort of my car and enjoy my cinema.


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At TRS we create content, conversations for the community of aspiring filmmakers and people passionate about the medium of cinema. More about us is here.
The Sparrow is in love! With Stories. And storytellers. And the craft of storytelling!

At TRS we create content, conversations for the community of aspiring filmmakers and people passionate about the medium of cinema.
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The Sparrow is in love! With Stories. And storytellers. And the craft of storytelling!
At TRS we create content, conversations for the community of aspiring filmmakers and people passionate about the medium of cinema.