Throwback Theaters?

Could drive-in theaters make a comeback during quarantine?


Fox Business

A throwback theater in its heyday.

Connor Davis, Columnist

Due to COVID-19, many businesses have had to close their doors for safety reasons set by the state of Arizona. Luckily, many have started to re-open due to a drop in cases. This includes movie theaters, which many do not fully trust in this age of masks and disinfectant. With all these fears, it is fortunate that an old fashioned way of seeing movies without the fear of COVID-19; drive-in theaters.

With many theaters out of commission, one business opportunity could rise up from the ashes of the 80s and 90s: drive-in theaters. With the ability to watch it from your car, and not have to worry about foreign germs other than the concession stand, now would be a great time for places like these to open back up en masse. Many might be wondering whether it be as good as a regular theater. I think it might actually be better. Drive-in theaters give moviegoers the ability to enjoy the beautiful weather while watching their film, and now give people the option to lose the mask. The place would only be able to show one movie at a time, however, but that would just add to the authenticity of the theater. With it being such an old form of moviegoing, people will want to re-experience older movies that came out when they were younger. One possible marketing strategy would be to play older movies in the style that they would have been played at the height of drive-in movies. This would give a satisfying experience to anyone to see, from older people to younger audiences watching the classics for the first time.

Another worry that arises when talking about a drive-in is cost efficiency. It will certainly make less money than a larger chain like AMC or Harkins, but will still make enough money to subsist. Each ticket would give the owner about ten percent of its profit, and the rest would come from entrance fees and concession stands, according to Truic LLC. These would help cover the large expenses of opening and constructing an area for the theater. The total cost of the land, equipment, and construction would be somewhere between $750,000 to $1 million, says a business insider at Bizfluent. Even still, this would cost less to construct and run annually than a regular movie theater. With all that’s going on in the time of COVID-19, I feel that a drive-in theater would be an expense worth making and turn a profit moving forward.