At the height of the shutdown, people quickly changed their habits to streaming content at home. Even the major studios decided to forgo theatrical releases for exclusive on-demand premieres. But with people itching to get out of the house, drive-in theaters quickly popped up once some restrictions were lifted.
Joining in on the trend are Tribeca and the Miami Dolphins, who hope to give South Floridians another option: to hop into their cars and take a trip to Hard Rock Stadium. This summer, at the Tribeca Drive-In, moviegoers will be treated to more than 30 films — from the latest Marvel blockbuster to '80s cult classics.
The Tribeca drive-in will screen movies every weekend through August 2. across five venues spread across the nation: two in New York (in the Bronx and on Long Island); one at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California; one at AT&T Stadium outside Dallas; and at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
With coronavirus numbers continue to surge in Florida — more than 10,000 new cases were reported on Tuesday — the drive-in offers a communal experience with the social-distancing built in.
Paula Weinstein, the executive vice president of Tribeca Enterprises, says that's the point.
"It seems like, for us, a way to go out with your family, who you aren't quarantined with, and park six feet from them and at least wave and have a chance to have that experience," Weinstein explains. "Everybody's been quarantined in their house, and most people have behaved extraordinarily well. This virus is virulent, and everyone needs to protect themselves, and this is the safest way to leave your house."
The Tribeca Film Festival itself was born out of the hardship New York City was facing after the September 11 attacks. The event served as a way to bring artists and filmmakers back to Lower Manhattan. It helped united the community during a difficult time, and Weinstein sees the same potential with the drive-in experience.
According to Weinstein, she's already seeing some signs that the Tribeca Drive-In is giving people some sense of normalcy.
"Hearing people honk their horns as they leave the drive-in at night," she says. "My hope is that they feel like part of the community again."
Although the event is billed as an old-fashioned drive-in, there's a separate option for guests to enjoy the movie-going experience outside their cars while still adhering to safety guidelines. The Fountain Plaza Open-Air Theater offers an entirely different roster of films that allows patrons to get cozy in the plaza while showing movies on the stadium's exterior Jumbotron. The drive-in theater, on the other hand, provides ticketholder the unique experience of parking their cars right inside the stadium.
This weekend, the drive-in will screen John Wick (July 9), Back to the Future (July 10), Black Panther (July 11), and Jerry Maguire (July 12). (Screenings for Back to the Future and Black Panther are sold out, so buy your tickets early). Other highlights include John Lewis: Good Trouble (July 15), Goonies (July 18), and Beetlejuice (July 26).
Outside, the Fountain Plaza features a pair of kid-friendly movies in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (July 10) and Inside Out (July 12). However, things kick off with film-festival success story Palm Springs (July 9). This Andy Samberg rom-com ignited a bidding war amongst studios after its premiere at Sundance in January. The movie currently holds a 98 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.
If you are still scrubbing your hands raw, don't worry, the Miami Dolphins and Tribeca are taking the necessary precautions to ensure everyone stays healthy.
"For [the Miami Dolphins] and for us, safety first; safety always," Weinstein says. "People can't leave their cars without their masks on."
Safety guidelines can be found on the Tribeca and Hard Rock Stadium websites. Everyone will be assigned a space to park their vehicle, and for the most part, you're expected to stay in your car for the duration of the movie. There is no need to visit the concession stands since moviegoers can have food and drink delivered straight to their car. If you need to use the restroom or exit your car for whatever reason, a mask is required — period.
Tribeca Drive-In. 6:45 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until August 2, at Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens; 305-943-6678; hardrockstadium.com. Tickets cost $17 to $39 via ticketmaster.com.