Social distancing phenom: Drive-ins boom as movie theaters close

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the closures of across the country and the delay of coveted 2020 blockbusters like Disney and Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” and MGM’s James Bond film “No Time To Die.”

But that does not mean going to the movies is out of the question.

Drive-in theaters throughout the U.S. have not only remained open, but have seen spikes in revenue as consumers desperately look for ways to escape their houses while abiding by the rules of social distancing.

Andrew Thomas, for example, owner of the Showboat Drive-In Theater in Hockley, Texas, saw a 40% increase in sales revenue two weeks ago, and a 95% increase this past week, just by showing the same two movies: Disney and Pixar’s “Onward,” and the Universal Pictures horror film “The Invisible Man.”

“Everyone is looking for a way to feel normal and this is a way of being safe,” Thomas said. “I spend all day answering emails from who never heard of us before, because they are trying to find something to do.”

Drive-ins are also allowing other companies to be “reborn” as well.

Darrell Landers, founder and CTO of Ultimate Outdoors Entertainment, an outdoor movie-screen rentals company,  told CNBC that his company has lost a substantial amount of revenue since the coronavirus led to mass public closings. Landers’ company survives off of bringing large groups of people together to watch movies outdoors.

But UOE has since refocused on its mobile drive-in theater business, which has been intact for 12 years, utilizing its LED screens to allow movies to be watched at all times of the day. 

“Showing movies during the day outside is a new concept, and we are using the LED screens to test-drive movies at other times than just at night,” Landers said. “So the drive-in is sort of a rebirth and a way for us to replace some of the income that we lost.”

And now business is booming. 

Kat Randolph, UOE’s director of sales and marketing, believes they will see an incline in business, as they have already received dozens of inquiries from consumers, including requests from Los Angeles entertainment companies that are looking to back to local communities.

“People to be a part of the theater experience in any shape or form,” Randolph emphasized.

This content was originally published here.