Acapulco, Guerrero, will soon be home to the biggest drive-in movie theater in Mexico.
During a press conference Monday, hotel chain Mundo Imperial announced the opening of Autocinema Acapulco on July 1 when the popular resort destination is expected to welcome tourists as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
The outdoor theater will be the largest in Mexico, with a capacity of up to 300 cars and a 24-by-14-meter mega-screen. Theater-goers will be able to see films, festivals and major events “all without leaving your car,” Mundo Imperial general director Seyed Rezvani said. The new theater will add 50 direct and 30 indirect jobs to the city’s economy, he added.
In the era of social distancing due to the coronavirus, drive-in theaters are making a comeback internationally as well as in Mexico.
The theaters first began operating in the United States in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey, and had spread to Mexico by the 1950s. By the 1990s, the drive-in format had fallen out of vogue and most theaters closed, but due to coronavirus concerns drive-ins are seeing a resurgence in popularity, this time due more to health concerns than nostalgia.
Drive-ins are popping up in places like Cannes, France, where a screen was installed in the city’s Palm Beach parking lot last month after the Cannes Film Festival was canceled for the first time in 72 years. Bordeaux and Marseilles have also opened drive-in theaters.
And in Germany, some 30 new theaters have opened since the pandemic began; some are also used for concerts and church services.
In Mexico, the theater chain Cinemex opened a drive-in theater this month in the parking lot of Guadalajara’s Plaza Patria, complete with snack counters and a giant inflatable screen.
The Coyote drive-in theater, which first opened in 2011, reopened in Mexico City on June 3 with new health protocols such as face masks and the frequent use of antibacterial gel by all employees. Capacity is limited to 30%, and all tickets must be purchased online. Snacks must be purchased directly from your car.
The Guanajuato International Film Festival, normally held in July, has postponed the festival until September, and will also be adding drive-in theater showings as part of its programming.
According to the federal government, indoor movie theaters in Mexico should not open until the state they are located in has reached a “yellow” level of medium risk on the government’s “stoplight” coronavirus map.