In many cases, drive-ins are a relic of the past and a reminiscence. For the younger generations, they’re a thing to be seen in movies or read about in books – where Danny Zuko takes Sandy Olsson on a date or where Johnny, Ponyboy, and Dally meet the two Soc girls. But since the Coronavirus pandemic closed businesses and restricted activities, drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback. With patrons closed in and sitting in close proximity, movie theaters would be hard pressed to enforce CDC guidelines and social distancing, and not being considered essential businesses, they shut their doors very early on.
But Epic Theatres of St. Augustine has found a way to offer a social distancing-friendly movie experience for locals. Following in the footsteps of its sister locations in Clermont and West Volusia, the theater launched its drive-in cinema back in mid-May. The pandemic has meant that production companies have halted the release of a number of films (or released them on streaming platforms instead), so Epic decided to poll its Facebook followers to decide the lineup – landing on a range of choices, with classics like Jaws and Back to the Future or family-friendly films like Secret Life of Pets or even thrillers like Invisible Man and The Hunt.
Epic is projecting the films onto the west wall of their building, and moviegoers can fill up the parking lot with their cars. Audio will come through your car’s FM radio. The theater will show two films each evening, with the first beginning at dusk and the following beginning 30 minutes after the first ends. Patrons pay by the carload rather than per person, so tickets are $20 for one show or $30 for both films of the night.
Where (you might be saying) do my movie theater snacks fit into this conversation? As a popcorn epicure myself, that’s an important question. Luckily, there will still be a refreshment stand onsite where you can get your fill of snacks and drinks.
Epic Theatres is just one of the local businesses that are getting creative with their services in the midst of the crisis. So many locals have found a way to bring their services or products to the community in a new way. And Epic Theatres’ solution gives us a chance to step out of our homes, step back in time, and spend a night at the movies.
Learn more about Epic’s schedule of drive-in movies by visiting www.epictheatres.com/location/st-augustine.