"La La Land" playing at the Santa Monica Airport Drive-In Movie Theater in January. (Madelyn Esses)
Brentwood School

The revival of drive-in movies

Pre-quarantine, one of the greatest joys was going to the movie theater with your friends and family. However, during the pandemic, people are deprived of the enjoyment that comes from viewing a movie in the theaters. Drive-in movies provide the opportunity for people to get out of the house and enjoy a movie on the big screen.

Drive-in movies are making a comeback; they were very popular in the 1950s and years later, but began to go out of style in the 1980s, until now.

There are many different places that offer drive-in movies in Los Angeles including the Santa Monica Airport. 

At the Santa Monica Airport, a myriad of movies have recently been played, including “La La Land”, “Clueless”, “The Breakfast Club”, and “Fight Club”. 

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online and some venues allow you to choose your parking space as well. Princes can range from $10-$30 per car.


Arriving at the venue 

Early is recommended in order to avoid a potentially long line and also to choose your parking spot. A line of excited people in cars can often be seen wrapped around the block, waiting to claim their spot. 

The venues arrange the cars so that no matter where one is parked, they have a great view of the screen. People can either park facing the screen and watch the movie from their seats or park backward. In the latter case, they can open their trunk and fill it with pillows and blankets as well as popcorn and their favorite candy in order to be even more comfortable when watching the movie. 

The whole experience is COVID-19 safe as all of the employees wear masks and stay far away from your car as they direct you where to go. As you enter, you are handed a piece of paper with the number of the radio station to attach your radio to in order to hear the movie.

People can order snacks and even meals, to allow for a more authentic movie theater experience. There is a barcode to scan in order to see the online menu. If one doesn’t feel comfortable ordering food, they can of course bring their own. 

There are many other locations, in addition to the Santa Monica Airport, that are offering drive-in movies including Electric Dusk Drive-In in Glendale, San Fernando Valley Drive-In Theatre in Encino, and the Rubidoux Drive-In in Riverside (where the Brentwood’s Class of 2020’s graduation was) held, and many more. 

Drive-in movies can provide a safe and unique way to go to the movies during the COVID-19 pandemic.