Blog / StartUp App Ideas / COVID-19

Unexpected Popularity of Drive-In Movie Theaters 

  • Rating — 5 (2 votes)
  • by Husieva Anna - Technology Author and Strategist
  • Updated on March 26, 2020
  • Read —
    4-5 minutes

Going to the cinema has always been a favorite weekend activity of many people. To enjoy a new movie sitting in a cozy armchair, eating pop-corn and sipping cold soda – simple things that make us all slightly happier. But now unfortunately we are deprived of these little joys because of the quarantine. 

While some people isolate themselves and settle for the TV shows at home, others are still missing the cinema halls and friends. So is there any way to let people watch movies together and preserve the atmosphere of a cinema hall during the quarantine period? The answer is – yes, because good old drive-in theaters are popular again. This is a safe and convenient way to watch movies with your family or friends without any contamination risks. Every group of people buys tickets online, they bring snacks with them and watch a film sitting in a car. The contacts with other people like cashiers, workers who check the tickets or sell food can be minimized. 

Drive-in theaters offer an unforgettable experience. Let’s be honest, traditional cinema halls are great, but sometimes people opening rustling packages in the middle of the movie, or starting to chat as if they are there alone can really annoy you. But in drive-in theater you will be able to enjoy watching a film without any distractions and also you will fully immerse into the oldschool atmosphere around you. 

Many people who have already visited drive-in theaters claim that such night out helps to distract them from a current situation with coronavirus. We have found a great video with their comments, just check it out. 

Open air cinemas are revived and if you are thinking about a startup, then opening your own cinema can be a great idea. Here are some good points: 

  • Your startup can be quite competitive. Let’s take the USA as an example. There are only 300+ drive-in theaters that keep working now. And in the 1950’s there were more than 4,000 such cinemas spread across the country. 
  • It will be popular all year round. People can visit your open air cinema not only in hard times of pandemic but also in any season, because they do not have to leave the car with air conditioning to enjoy the movie. 
  • You can gain loyalty of regular visitors. Nowadays it is easier than ever to reach your customers if you go digital. So if you create an easy to use app and implement some bonus program for your regular customers, you will attract even more new ones in the future.
  • You can stand out from your competitors. If you find your own unique thing (like a new type of snack that will be associated with your cinema only, or some themed movie nights), people will be visiting your place more often then the others. 

What applications every open air cinema needs? 

Based on our experience we can say that for many businesses going digital should come first! And drive-in theaters business is not an exception. Nowadays everyone spends a lot of time with a smartphone in their hands, so a right application for your drive-in cinema can become a huge game changer. You will allow your customers to learn more about your open air cinema, all upcoming premiers and to express their opinion. 

We have thought about an app that might be of use to you and your customers and came up with some ideas of features that it should have: 

  • Option for booking tickets. It is very convenient not only in times of quarantine. People do not have to wait in line and can plan their night outs ahead. 
  • Convenient payment method. Make sure that all your customers can select a convenient payment method and buy their tickets in a couple of clicks. 
  • Referral program. Let your regular visitors benefit from different discounts or special offers to gain their loyalty and appreciation. 
  • Feature for streaming audio. Your visitors should be able to enjoy not only a beautiful picture on a big screen but also a quality sound. 
  • Notifications. Implement this feature and inform your customers about all upcoming movies, new special offers and personal movie suggestions for them. 
  • Feedback. Let your customers share their honest opinion regarding your drive-in theater, all services and movies. This allows creating a live community. 

Already have an awesome drive-in theater app in mind?

Do not forget to establish a web presence as well. A movie-themed website related to your open air cinema can be a powerful tool that is able to attract many people. 

Also take care about your own snack bar and add all available options in a form of a short menu with prices to both your app and website. 

In conclusion

Humanity has survived numerous catastrophes, pandemics, wars and hasn’t lost optimism. People will always want to entertain themselves, and it doesn’t matter whether they are in quarantine or not. As drive-in theaters started gaining popularity, you can be the one who will create a successful startup turning it into a long living and successful business. Just make sure you have everything that is needed and establish web and mobile presence. 

I am mainly focused on enterprise mobility (Apple, Android), and digital transformation, highly curious about all emerging tech trends, always pay close attention to crucial details and try to find answers to a lot of questions before writing about something.


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