Our time in isolation, at least in the Philippines, is still uncertain. In this period of lockdown with increasing numbers of COVID-19 active cases, nobody wants to leave their homes even to just get access to basic necessities, more so to mingle with other people in an enclosed air-conditioned venue to get their big-screen entertainment fix.
Then again, the entertainment industry is not stopping. Though movie production is not yet in full swing, there are already feature films, which production had been complete even before the COVID-19 outbreak brought the entire world to a halt, waiting to be commercially exhibited.
But how will they do it?
Enter drive-in cinemas.
This classic movie experience, which is having its moment again in some parts of the world, began on June 6, 1933 when Richard Hollingshead – who had earlier patented the concept – opened the first drive-in theater in Camden, New Jersey. According to Robin T. Reid in a smithsonianmag.com article, people paid 25 cents per car as well as per person to see the British comedy Wives Beware under the stars.
The success of Hollingshead’s drive-in caused more and more theaters to appear in the US, and spread internationally as well. Drive-ins peaked in the 1950s and 1960s, and by 1958, there were 4,063 theaters. They were popular both as space for families to spend time with each other, as well as an affordable date-night option.
While the popularity of drive-ins declined over the years with less available land, smaller cars, and the advent of home entertainment systems, some 300 theaters remain in the US. And today, the drive-in concept is being transformed into a safe and fun way of movie watching.
In the country, a similar big-screen entertainment system is set woe the public with SM Cinema re-opening its doors with the newest out-of-home entertainment experience for movie lovers – The SM Cinema Drive-In. It is set to premiere at the Amphitheater of SM City Pampanga on Friday. This brings back the attraction of watching movies under the stars, this time as #SafeAndFunMovieWatching from the comfort of their own cars in the new normal.
The SM Cinema Drive-in will be open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting July 31 at the SM City Pampanga Amphitheater with the most anticipated horror movie from South Korea, Train 2 Busan: Peninsula. Other films to be screened are Sea Monsters on July 31 (8:20 p.m.) and My Spy on Aug.1 (5:30 p.m.).
Entry to the SM Cinema Drive-in will start at 4:30 p.m.. There will be two movie screenings per day. The first screening will start at 5:30 p.m. and the second screening will be at 8:20 p.m.. All tickets must be purchased online in advance. Each ticket costs P400 per person, and this already includes a Snack Time bundle consisting of bottled water, regular-sized popcorn, and beef franks.
Food concessions will be available on-site. A separate menu will be provided upon entering the SM Cinema Drive-in. For additional orders, simply raise your flags and a server will approach your vehicle to take your orders.
For the best movie-viewing experience, two persons are allowed per vehicle with a maximum of four persons. To optimize the viewing experience for all our guests, each vehicle will be assigned their parking spots upon arrival depending on the size of their cars. Traffic marshals will assist guests and direct them to their designated spot.
Once parked, guests will be instructed to turn on their car’s FM radio to a specific frequency to broadcast the sound straight into their vehicles. Guests are also welcome to bring their own radio and other devices with FM capabilities. The venue can accommodate between 80 and 90 vehicles per screening, and individuals aged between 21 and 59 will be admitted in accordance with IATF Guidelines and Safety Protocols.
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