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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Drive-In Cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Are Reopening

Sit in your car under the stars, maintain social-distancing requirements, and watch recent releases and retro favourites.
By Sarah Ward
May 28, 2020
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Drive-In Cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Are Reopening

Sit in your car under the stars, maintain social-distancing requirements, and watch recent releases and retro favourites.
By Sarah Ward
May 28, 2020
  shares

Most of Australia's cinema industry has earmarked July as its relaunch date, aiming to reopen in time for the planned release of Christopher Nolan's Tenet. But if you're a film fan keen for some big-screen fun before that, the country's drive-in theatres are filling the gap — and, given that their whole concept involves folks watching flicks in cars, social distancing is already part of the experience.

At the beginning of May, Queensland's Yatala Drive-In welcomed movie buffs and their vehicles back through the doors. After a successful return over the state's Labour Day long weekend, the site halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast has worked its way up to screening films seven nights a week across its three fields. Run by the same team behind Brissie's New Farm, Elizabeth and Red Hill cinemas, Yatala is playing a mix of classics and recent releases. Viewers can pick from retro titles like Shrek, Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride, Jaws and Toy Story, or opt for newer fare such as Jumanji: The Next Level, Bad Boys for Life, The Gentlemen or Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).

In Sydney, Blacktown's Skyline Drive-In quietly relaunched over the weekend of May 23–24, selling out its two sessions quickly. It's now officially reopening for regular showings from today, Thursday, May 28, screening from Thursday–Sunday each week (plus a Monday night session on the Queen's Birthday public holiday, too) — with four flicks playing each night. Films on the bill include The Invisible Man, IT: Chapter Two, Spies in Disguise, Joker, Grease and Knives Out, with horror-themed Friday nights and retro programming on Saturdays also on the agenda. Its diner is also back in business, serving burgers, hot chips, choc tops and other snacks.

Brook James

Melburnians looking to catch a flick in their car under the stars will need to wait until 11.59pm on Sunday, May 31 — so, Monday June 1, effectively — which is when Victoria's next stage of eased restrictions kick in. Drive-ins will be allowed to reopen then, with Dandenong's Lunar Drive-In relaunching on that date, Village Cinemas Coburg Drive-In doing the same on Wednesday, June 3 and the Dromana Drive-In restarting is projectors on Thursday, June 4. On the various cinemas' lineups: The Fast & the Furious, Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon, 1917 and Bloodshot at Lunar; Cats, Mad Max: Fury Road, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction at Coburg; and Sonic the Hedgehog, Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Muriel's Wedding at Dromana.

Each of the reopening drive-ins is implementing additional social-distancing measures, ranging from the provision of hand sanitiser stations to asking attendees to take their rubbish home with them. Online bookings are required in some cases and recommended in others, while bathrooms at some sites are only available in emergencies — and candy bar and diner patron limits are being enforced, with some venues delivering snacks straight to vehicles.

For more information about each drive-in, or to book tickets, visit the websites for Yatala in Queensland, Skyline in Sydney, and Lunar, Coburg and Dromana in Melbourne.

Top image: Yatala Drive-In and Skyline Blacktown

Published on May 28, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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