Movie theaters across the country shut down after the start of quarantine, and this small, guilty pleasure was a big loss in family entertainment. Some families created their own little theaters at home with homemade popcorn. While this idea is perfect for a family night, sometimes the theatre experience is just more fun than staying in and watching Netflix. Those hoping to see a movie on the big screen are in luck with the resurrection of drive-in theaters.
Drive-in theaters are the perfect opportunity to get out of the house and still stay safe and socially distanced. Before the coronavirus, drive-in movie theaters were mostly “extinct,” as there are only 325 drive-in theaters located across the U.S.
In Mississippi there are only two: one in Iuka and one in Natchez. Amanda Broadhead, a mom working hard to keep her kids safe from COVID-19, recently went to a drive-in theater in Natchez. Located on the bank of the Mississippi River, families can relax and watch a movie with the sun setting in the background. For her son who has a pre-existing illness, every precaution during the pandemic is important. They still want to enjoy time as a family and get out of the house, so a drive-in theater is the perfect place.
“Drive in theatres give us a sense of normalcy during the pandemic. It’s a safe way to have fun, family entertainment while socially distancing and staying safe,” Broadhead said.
On this specific evening, the theater in Natchez was showing Shrek. Some of the other movies shown over the summer included Get On Up, The Sandlot, Trolls and Hidden Figures. People attending are encouraged to bring snacks and blankets to enjoy the full movie experience. This theater was opened in June and July only so that families had something to do this summer during the ongoing pandemic. It was set to close in August, but there is talk of it remaining open since it was such a big hit this summer.
These theaters make a fun getaway from the stress of everyday life and can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of a vehicle. Perhaps more drive-in theaters will begin to pop up around Mississippi. In the meantime, keep having those family movie nights at home, or set up an outdoor theater in the backyard. Maybe even plan a trip with the family to Natchez. There are plenty of things to do that incorporate enjoying life with friends and family while working to flatten the curve.
by Ashton May, Features Editor