In July 2013, drive-in’s celebrated their 80th birthday. At the Twin City Drive-In in Bristol, TN, a half full lot watched Fast & Furious 6 while hugged by the rolling hills all around them.
Typically, a family will pack in a single car, since admission is per car, pull into a spot at dusk, and stay for two or three movies. Sound is either on a certain radio signal or like the Twin City, there is one speaker per spot. Drive-ins stayed more popular in the South since the weather allowed for a longer season.
Around the time of this screening, the remaining drive-ins faced were in a tough spot. The movie studios announced they were no longer making film prints for new releases. Most drive-ins are seasonal and charge little admission and cannot afford new digital projectors. If they don’t upgrade, they will be stuck playing older movies and get less traffic.
In 2020 with COVID-19, there was renewed interest in drive-ins as it is easier to socially distance in cars.