Drive-In Utopia

Drive-in movie theaters are satisfying a need for public spaces that also allow some privacy.

"Sometimes you need to actually go somewhere, and some things are simply more fun in public. This might explain the unlikely revival of the drive-in - an experience that splits the difference between the public and the private. After eight years of decline, [Statistics Canada] reported that drive-in crowds spiked by 20 per cent in 2004-2005.

One of the ironies of the drive-in's return is that the very trends that helped kill it two decades ago now drive its revival. The VCR begat the DVD player, which is now a feature in many minivans, acclimatizing a new generation of auto-bound audiences. And while the Route 66 car culture of diners and drive-ins may have been supplanted by big chains, drive-thru services have only proliferated.

Despite its association with fast food drive-thru windows, the drive-in also offers respite from the cookie-cutter corporate multiplex. Drive-ins have a small-town community feel - and some are literally civic endeavours.

But this is the key: Viewers get a fuzzy feeling from watching [movies] with their friends and neighbours because they aren't impinging on their personal space."

Full Story: Movie paradise by the dashboard light

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