Drive-in cinemas: How they came about and which still work in Brazil

Drive-in cinema in Brazil

Initially, the idea of open-air cinemas appeared in the city of Las Cruces, Mexico, around 1915. However, it gained greater prominence when it became drive-in (in parking lots), in 1932, in the United States. Its creator was Richard M. Hollingshead Jr .: when he witnessed the complaints of his mother who was overweight, in relation to the chairs of traditional cinemas, he decided to innovate to please her. He hung a screen between two trees, parked the car in front of it and installed a projector on top of the vehicle. Thus, the drive-in cinema.

When drive-in cinema appears

This new style of watching films reached its peak in the 50s and 60s, mainly. In the USA, in that period, it had more than 4 thousand spaces functioning as a drive-in. It was a milestone in American history, as shown in several films, for example,. The first site of the experiment had 400 vacancies. Later, due to the great success, they increased this quantity: one of the largest that existed in New York could house 2,500 vehicles.

In addition to providing an experience totally different from what they had already seen, people felt more free because it was an open place and also because smoking was allowed, which is not allowed in traditional rooms. At the same time that freedom was given, it could also be something private and more comfortable, as each family occupied its place, that is, there was no discomfort with others

Most of the parking lots that used to show films were in rural areas, a fact that increased the number of people who had access to the cinema. The sessions were somewhat restricted because, as it is a country that has times with hurricanes and severe winters, they could not function during this period. And, as they could only operate at night, there were few films that could be shown, at most two a day.

In the 1940s, the quality was improved, as the sound was no longer those that came out of the speakers or speakers that reduced the quality or out of sync with the film. It was when the cars started to have sound equipment and it was only to tune in the radio established by the place that you could hear the audio of your own car, accompanying with the screen image. In the 1950s, the project became popular with young people as it was a cheap option for places where they could meet.

Drive-in cinema in Brazil

Drive-in cinemas in Brazil

In Brazil, drive-ins arrived only at the end of the 1960s. In 1973, the Cine Drive-in, which still works today. He had to suspend his activities due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus, but he resumed his activities on 04/28. At the time, other cities also received the novelty, some of which were: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Campo Grande and Porto Alegre.

These cinemas had their decline when the costs of large land began to cost a lot and expensive and, due to the emergence of VHS (), and then, now, people started to prefer watching movies from home. Despite this, some projects have managed to remain standing and, currently, in the United States, there are approximately 400 in operation. In Brazil, only Brasilia’s remains, the first in the country.

In 2019, at the premiere of the film, Cine Drive-in made its exhibition and, also, the production included installation of a children’s and adult cosplaysquiz show and a lightsaber show. The event had about 300 people, which shows that it is still possible to successfully innovate something done the old fashioned way.

Others that appeared in Brazil and continue to operate are Cine Autorama, which is itinerant and has already operated in 70 cities, including the interior, of 10 Brazilian states. Most of your sessions are free. Although there is an expectation to return to activities in July, there is still no correct forecast on this. CineCar, in Interlagos, which, in addition to films, also broadcasts soccer matches awaits the release of government agencies to resume operations. The novelty of the time is Arena Sessions, a new project that will have its sessions in May / June at Allianz Parque, in São Paulo. The operating date depends on the release for events like this, obeying the health authorities.

Due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus and the need for social distance, which prohibited the agglomerations, the cinema drive-in renews itself. And, obeying some rules, it can work providing entertainment for the public. The form of cinema that had to struggle to stand on account of competition with traditional cinemas is now the only and safest way to watch films away from home.