Johnny Rockets Burger Chain Tries to Revive Drive-In Movie Theaters
by Ethan Anderton
November 7, 2014
Once a thriving cinematic experience for kids and adults alike, today drive-in movie theaters have become a novelty piece of nostalgia as generic, corporate multiplexes dominate the movie theater landscape. But that may not be the case much longer. BusinessWeek (via SlashFilm) reports the retro burger chain Johnny Rockets is teaming with USA Drive-ins to open up 200 drive-in theaters by 2018, each accompanied by a Johnny Rockets drive-thru and food counter. So just like the good ole days, you can sit in the comfort of your car, each a cheeseburger (they'll bring it to you) and watch a movie, just like God intended. Read on!
If you haven't been to a drive-in theaters, you're missing out on a fun, unique cinematic experience. These theaters thrived in the 1950s and once covered the nation with thousands of screens. But their seasonal and timely nature (you can't see a drive-in movie in the winter or during the day because it's outside), the arrival of larger movie houses, the invention of television and eventually the VCR and other factors just caused them to decline and as of March 2014 there were only 348 drive-in movie theaters left running in the US.
But that's all going to change with this new endeavor that will have room for 500 to 700 cars with the potential for 1,200 to 2,000 people (depending on car size). And the good news is that these drive-ins won't be dependent on the success of the business as the movie theaters since it's the Johnny Rockets restaurant that will keep things up and running. Johnny Rockets executive James Walker says, "The drive-through is the cake, the drive-in [theater] is the icing." Let's hope that means they won't be careless when it comes to showing a movie with the highest regard for high quality projection.
The good news is that these drive-ins would offer something different than going to your local movie theaters, forking over your watch to pay for concessions and sitting next people you don't even know. And the tickets will be reasonably priced at $6 to $7 for admission with kids getting in for just $3 each. An environment like a drive-in changes the way you experience a movie because you can talk to your friends without bugging anyone else, and all you people addicted to your phones could even text without pissing anyone off. The question is whether or not they will have first-run movies, or serve as more of a bargain theater with less recent theatrical releases. We'll see what happens when they open.