Some people are heading to the drive-in but maybe you should bring the drive-in to you.

By Stacey Leasca
Updated August 05, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement

In a matter of weeks, we’ve gone from a relative closeness to an immeasurable social distance. Yes, scientifically, it should be six feet. However, emotionally, it’s felt much greater. For now, medical experts say it’s best to avoid spending time in groups, going out to crowded spaces, and, of course, no more dining out in our favorite restaurants. However, there is one way people seem to be skirting the system: Drive-in movie theaters.

According to reports in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and countless local media outlets, drive-in theaters are experiencing a resurgence across the nation in response to the call for distance. But, should you really join them?

“It makes perfect sense,” Jen Philhower from Austin, Texas, told The New York Times about why she chose to take her family to the local drive-in. “We can all sit in our cars, away from each other, and do something fun.”

“So, Day Two of home school, we are all cooped up in the house, and this was a way to go out and still be distant from other people but not at our house,” Brenna Coogle from California shared with The Los Angeles Times.

Coogle and Philhower are far from alone.

For those looking, finding a drive-in movie theater may be easier than you think. As The New York Times pointed out, the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association reports there are still 305 drive-ins around the United States. The association explains, there is one in every state except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, and North Dakota.

And, to ensure the safety of guests drive-ins are also taking extra precautions.

The owners of the Blue Starlite Drive-in shared with The New York Times, they are now asking guests to merely flash their tickets on the phone rather than handing one over. Guests at other theaters are asked to order concession items over the phone, and some theaters are asking guests to stay in their cars at all times.

Getty Images

However, some drive-ins are still closing down due to the confusion over if they constitute a gathering or not. In many states, gatherings of 50 or more (and in California of 10 or more) are currently outlawed. But, some owners are likening the experience to restaurants turning into takeout hubs.

“The city is allowing fast-food drive-thru businesses to stay open," drive-in owner Blake Smith told The Los Angeles Times. “I am making the case that we are similar to them.”

So, should you go to the drive-in too? That’s all up to you. Assess your risk tolerance and your own personal safety and go from there.

What can you do instead? Simple: Build your own backyard theater instead. Here’s how to do just that.

Find the space

Find a spot in your yard, in your garage, or even the perfect spot indoors where you could hang a sheet or projector screen. Make sure there is ample floor room in front for seating.

Grab a projector

You’re going to need something to stream your movies on and that begins with projectors. The price of projectors can vary greatly. For example, this VANKYO Leisure 3 can support up to a 170-inch display and is just $89.99 online at Walmart right now.

Or, you could go with this high-end Epson EF-100 Mini-Laser Streaming Smart Projector that clocks in at $899.99 for a super high-def experience, also available at Walmart.

Pick a screen

Now you’ve got to find the perfect screen size for you. This Ktaxon Outdoor/Indoor Projector comes with its own triangle stand for $61.98 on Walmart.

And this Inflatable Mega Movie Screen comes with an easy setup guide too for just $82.99 on Walmart.

Or, you can always grab a handy white sheet from the linen closet;

Check the sound

If you’re going to watch a classic on your own big-screen you’ve got to have good sound. Luckily that too is easy with Innovative Technology’s Outdoor Bluetooth Party Speaker. That runs at $84.98 on Walmart.

Or, go high-end with Soundcast’s Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker for $499.99 on Walmart.

Get the perfect seating

Now, it’s time to get cozy. Bring out all your blankets and favorite snacks and cuddle up for the show. To make it feel even more like a night out on the town by a few Nobel House Bean Bag Chairs for just $79.98 each, also on Walmart. Because everyone deserves to feel comfortable right now.