Are Drive-in Movie Theaters Going To Make A Comeback On Long Island?

Social Distancing From Covid-19 May Revive Drive-in Movie Theaters
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Long Island News Post Published on April, 15th 2020

Social Distancing From Covid-19 May Revive Drive-in Movie Theaters!

The COVID-19 Pandemic is going to change many industries forever, one of them being the entertainment industry. Recent changes in consumer preferences have already led to favoring streaming of their favorite movies and television shows on platforms such as Netflix, and HBO GO.

Drive-in movie theaters would be a great way to change up the current digital trends the movie industry has been heading into. Currently, many people feel that staying at home is more convenient than going out to the theater because they can watch whatever they want, whenever they want, in the comfort of their own home.


What if you could go watch a movie outside in the comfort of your own car?

This is the added value the drive-in theaters bring to the table. Being able to relax in your own car while watching the newest Hollywood Blockbuster outside on a warm summer night.

What's better?

Drive-in theaters were popular in the early-mid 1900s throughout the United States with several throughout Long Island Towns.

Why Long Island Drive-In Theaters Can Make a Comeback

Big Movie Theater Chains Are Struggling. The current pandemic has led to all movie theaters being closed for a prolonged period of time, with many blockbuster movies pushing their release dates back to later this year or early next year.

AMC CEO Adam Aron made headlines when making the obvious statement that AMC “Does Not Have a Penny of Revenue Coming in the Door.” >This applies to all other movie chains as well since they have all been mandated to close to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

There is much speculation that AMC will file for bankruptcy in the near future, and possibly go out of business if they cannot recover. With the entire movie industry taking a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an opportunity for some new players to enter the market and shake things up.

History of Long Island Drive In Movie Theaters

In the 1950s, there were upwards of 4000 Drive-in theaters in the United States. Several of these were located in New York and were especially popular on Long Island, New York. Long Island Towns such as Bay Shore, Bethpage, Melville, and Commack had a drive-in theater, along with several others.

For the older Long Islander's, drive-ins remind them of childhood memories and simpler times. Most of the movie theaters had a playground for kids to play on before the show started and would run “double-feature”, which allowed families to view 2 films after only paying one time for admission.

The result was drive-in theaters being a fantastic option for a cheap, fun-filled night with the family.

What Happened To The Drive-in Movie Theaters On Long Island?

You may think that drive-in movies lost their appeal over time. However, due to the great value of the double features, playground, and snack bar, this wasn't the case.

Drive-in Movie theaters started to disappear over time as the real estate value began to exceed the value of the business itself. The open field movie theaters were later replaced by the massive concrete building movie theaters we have throughout Long Island today.

The last drive-in movie theater on Long Island closed its doors in 1998 in Westbury.

Are There Any Long Island Drive-in Movie Theaters?

Unfortunately, there are currently no drives in movie theaters that are still open on Long Island.

We hope one day the generation of Millenials who have grown up on Long Island will be able to experience watching a movie in their car while listening to the sound through the radio just as the generations before us were able to do throughout their childhood.

If you want to have the experience of going to a drive-in in 2020, you still can. There are a few located throughout the tri state area such as the Warwick Drive In, Southington Drive In and Mansfield Drive In.

Will Drive-in Movie Theaters Make A Comeback Long Island?

As far as the comeback of drive-in theaters, only time will tell. The opportunity for the comeback will be as strong as ever as many large movie theater chains are facing decisions about their own future.

Even though streaming services will likely continue to dominate the entertainment industry for some time to come, the experience of watching a movie outdoors in your car for the first time may add enough value to incentivize customers to go out for a new type of movie date or movie night with the family.

The younger generation can only hope that someone will be bold enough to provide us with these new experiences by looking to the past to take a bold step forward to once again change the entertainment industry forever.

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Long Island News Post Updated April 15th, 2020

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