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Drive-In Movies Make a Comeback During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has interfered with our lives in many ways. Even though we’re beginning to return to some type of normalcy, there are still a number of things we are unable to do. For example, in the state of Michigan, you’re not allowed to go to an indoor movie theater. However, Michiganders have found another way to watch films on the big screen: drive-in movies.

Drive-in movies were originally invented in 1933 for families to go to without worrying about how loud their kids may get. They were also more cost-friendly than traditional movie theaters, drawing in a younger crowd. However, as time went on, drive-in movies began to decline in popularity. This was primarily due to the expenses of owning land and maintaining a drive-in movie theater. At one point, there were as many as 5,000 drive-in theaters across the US. Today, only about 500 remain.

Drive-in movies peaked in popularity during the 1950s, during a major polio outbreak. This is because drive-in movies allowed Americans to get out of the house without any fear of catching the poliovirus; which is why drive-ins have once again spiked in popularity—except in this case it’s to prevent catching COVID-19. Drive-ins serve as a form of entertainment while being able to prevent the fear of spreading the coronavirus.   

A New England drive-in theater during the Polio outbreak.

The Ford-Wyoming Drive-In, located in Dearborn, Michigan, managed to become the highest-grossing movie theater in the U.S. over the Father’s Day weekend, making $127,300 according to Deadline. Having five different screens and a 3,000 car capacity, it’s success doesn’t come as a surprise.

Images courtesy of the Ford-Wyoming Drive-In Theater and

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