Early showings not in the cards for drive-in theatres

By Gordon Lambie

Despite the popular theory that drive in movie theatres have the winning model for being able to show films in an era of social distancing, Cine-parc Orford co-owner François Pradella says people shouldn’t get their hopes up for an early opening this spring.
“As far as the government is concerned we’re just a regular movie theatre,” Pradella told The Record. “We’re just not a priority right now.”
Operating on the idea that a cinema where people can isolate inside their cars and/or be outdoors would be safer to reopen than a traditional theatre, the co-owner said that the Cine-parc was quick to submit a modified business plan to the government for a spring reopening. After two weeks of waiting for an answer, that plan was sent back to the drawing board.
As a result Pradella said it is unlikely that prospective local movie-goers will see an opening before the middle of June.
“We don’t have an exact date yet,” he said, adding that when the business is able to open, it will be under the same sort of hygiene and distancing restrictions people have come to expect at stores. This means operating at about 60 per cent capacity in terms of number of vehicles, and lineups for snacks and bathroom access, assuming the revised plan is accepted.
The other limitation facing the drive-in is that there are no scheduled film releases before July 15.
“Christopher Nolan really wants to keep his release date for Tenet” Pradella said, explaining that if the business is able to open in June, it would rely on re-runs of classics for the mother leading up to the start of the new release season.
“We’re just waiting to see,” he said.

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