BREAKING NEWS West Lafayette City Councilor Norris Wang dies over weekend Full Story

Drive-in theaters are making a comeback amid COVID-19 pandemic

Drive-in theater owners are expecting a rise in customers this season as safety concerns surround indoor theaters.

Posted: May 18, 2020 11:14 PM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 5:24 PM

MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) — After decades of seeing a decline in customers, drive-in theaters are now seeing a shift. Dozens of drive-ins in Indiana saw a record number of people this opening weekend. But as Hollywood puts a halt on movie-making, drive-ins are expecting new challenges.

"Drive-ins have been around for a long time, their peak time was about the 50s every little town had a drive-in," said Earle McLachlan, owner of Lake Shore Drive-in Theater in Monticello.

He said the decline for drive-in movie-goers started in the 80s, that's when big movie companies started building large indoor theaters. But under this pandemic, people are making their way back to outdoor movie-lots.

"We're really seeing an increase in business because of the indoors not being able to attract the people, people just don't feel quite safe enough yet but they feel very safe out in the open air of the drive-in atmosphere," said McLachlan.

McLachlan said each movie-screening on opening-weekend brought a hundred more customers than normal. Even though the movies they're screening have been released for some time.

"There was anticipation because people want to get out they want to see a movie," said McLachlan.

While people are seeking safe activities to do outside the house, McLachlan is worried that the inability to play new movies could become a problem this season.

"We're having to play older pictures now because there are no newer pictures," said McLachlan. "Hollywood's not making anything."

He said all theaters are playing re-runs only. Movie-makers have put a halt on releasing new movies as they figure out how to recoup the millions of dollars they were expecting to make-back once the movies hit theaters.

McLachlan is hoping the desire for families to create new memories will outweigh the fact that it may be a movie they've already watched.

"We have people coming here saying, we've been married 50 years and our first date was at this drive-in movie theater," said McLachlan. "It'll always be a special niche and I think they'll stay around though.. they'll stay around."

Like bars and restaurants, drive-ins are also required to function at 50% capacity. Lake Shore drive-in's limit is 300 cars right now, pre-pandemic they could hold 600.

This weekend's movie leading up to Memorial Day include Trolls World Tour-PG, Doctor Dolittle-PG, Bad Boys III-R, Bloodshot-PG13. Find more information here.

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 16°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 15°
Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 22°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Frankfort
Mostly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 17°
Frankfort
Mostly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 17°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 15°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 15°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 23°
More more snow showers ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 590211

Reported Deaths: 9310
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion815581297
Lake44306666
Allen31919541
Hamilton28371304
St. Joseph26766371
Elkhart24098341
Vanderburgh18643213
Tippecanoe17422121
Johnson14496284
Porter14399160
Hendricks13870241
Madison10561212
Vigo10483171
Clark10240130
Monroe9076108
Delaware8836132
LaPorte8771155
Howard7897138
Kosciusko787277
Warrick643890
Hancock638797
Bartholomew626694
Floyd6150105
Wayne5933157
Grant5818110
Dubois544372
Boone534367
Morgan516291
Marshall494184
Henry493664
Cass471760
Noble460557
Dearborn458444
Jackson414745
Shelby402179
Lawrence380575
Clinton364539
Gibson356556
DeKalb337363
Montgomery334851
Harrison328542
Knox327839
Miami309843
Steuben306340
Adams295235
Whitley294125
Wabash293045
Ripley292345
Putnam284847
Huntington283557
Jasper282433
White267538
Daviess261672
Jefferson250738
Fayette242348
Decatur242182
Greene233360
Posey232326
Wells229447
LaGrange224161
Clay217932
Scott216937
Randolph208340
Jennings192535
Sullivan189031
Spencer181917
Fountain179725
Washington177118
Starke171341
Jay162821
Owen159537
Fulton159229
Carroll152115
Orange151433
Rush149918
Perry147227
Vermillion144933
Franklin143433
Parke12908
Tipton128232
Pike113625
Blackford107522
Pulaski95237
Newton89421
Brown85530
Benton84310
Crawford7579
Martin70013
Warren6587
Switzerland6205
Union6113
Ohio4677
Unassigned0374

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events