This past weekend I went to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine with my son at a nearby drive-in movie theater. That’s right, a drive-in movie theater. If you grew up in the late 70s and early 80s you have probably been to one of these classic venues before they all but disappeared. The drive-in movie theater offers you a unique experience and if there is one nearby, you should try and get to one at least once during the Summer.
Drive-ins let you see movies on a big screen, a really big screen. With the dawn of multiplexes, theater screens have been getting smaller and smaller. Not so with the drive-in. These screens are huge and the images are larger than life, literally.
If you’re a penny-pincher like I am, drive-ins are more affordable, too. You get 2 movies for the price of one if you choose to stay for the double-feature. Even if you only watch one movie it’s still cheaper than going to the mall. A brief survey I’ve conducted shows that the price of admission is about $1-$2 cheaper than the multiplex for adults and the concessions are cheaper too. Some drive-ins charge a “tax” if you bring your own food, which is understandable. At the drive-in I go to regularly, if you bring your own food you’re only charged $5 per car. Bring your grill and have some burgers and dogs during the film.
You also get to enjoy the movie at your own volume since many use FM transmitters for the film’s audio. No thunderous booms coming from the neighboring theaters or audio that’s too loud or soft. Some drive-ins still offer the nostalgic squawk boxes that hang from your window if you want to go really retro.
Drive-ins in my opinion are more comfortable too. If you’re not comfortable in your car you can always bring along a lawn chair to chillax in rather than the stinky, sticky chairs you find in theaters. Got a pick-up truck? Back that puppy up and sit in the bed for an even nicer view. The staff at the drive-in is very conscious of larger vehicles and will even ask if your view is blocked by that SUV in front of you. If some freakishly tall person sits in front of you in a regular theater, you’re stuck. Have fun looking around their huge head.
Granted, there are some down sides to the drive-in. There’s always some inconsiderate person who turns on their headlights during the movie or stomps the brake in front of you. Occasionally someone will drive in front of your view but it’s only for a moment. If it starts to rain your picture is ruined but most drive-ins do offer rain checks in the case of really bad weather.
I think that overall the drive-in experience is exponentially better than going to the multiplex. Being involved in a time-honored tradition of blowing your horn to get the movie started and grilling before the start of the movie is a great way to spend some quality time with the family.
For more information about drive-ins in your area, visit these sites: