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This is the Biggest Weekend for Drive-ins in Over Two Years

by Released : 2022-05-26

Top-Gun-Maverick-scene

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, we felt that 2020 was going to be a great year for drive-ins as there were several blockbuster movies slated to be released and we knew of several new drive-ins scheduled to open that year.  However, that all changed fairly quickly with the pandemic and the huge impact that it had on drive-ins as well as the movie industry as a whole.

The last two years have certainly been a struggle for drive-in theaters as well as all entertainment venues, but this weekend, we think we are going to see the biggest crowds at drive-in movie theaters in the last couple of years.

First, this is Memorial Day weekend which is the official start of the summer drive-in season.  While many drive-ins opened in late April or in May, the drive-in season officially kicks off this weekend with the start of summer. And with warm weather forecast for most of the country this weekend, it should be a great weekend to be outside at the movies. 

But more importantly, arguably the biggest movie release of the last two years is happening this weekend with the release of Top Gun: Maverick.  Originally scheduled to be released during the summer of 2020, the long awaited sequel to 1986's Top Gun is finally hitting theaters this weekend after being pushed back for over two years because of Covid and theaters being closed or operating under capacity restrictions. And even before being officially released, the movie has generated enormous buzz as its current Rotten Tomatoes score is 98% which has generated a ton of excitement and is expected in turn to generate a huge turnout this weekend. 

During the pandemic, drive-in theaters were closed for some time due to local pandemic restrictions.  But even when they did open, it was often at reduced capacity and sometimes without concessions (the real money maker of drive-ins and all theaters).  So, while attendance was high at many drive-ins during the pandemic, they still struggled to make ends meet. And more recently they have been dealing with staffing shortages and supply chain issues which have added to their struggles causing a few to announce their permanent closures already this year.

In addition, once theaters did re-open and drive-ins were able to open at full capacity, they continued to struggle as theaters were not releasing many major movies.  And many of the movies being released were also simultaneously released on streaming which hurt drive-in theater attendance.

But unlike most of the recent large movies to come out the past two years, Top Gun: Maverick is only being released in theaters this weekend.  So, if you want to see it, you have to go to a theater or drive-in movie theater.

So given the combination of the end of pandemic restrictions, the holiday weekend forecast with warm weather, the release Top Gun: Maverick which promises to be a huge blockbuster driving large crowds and the fact viewers cannot stream it at home, we are forecasting this should be the busiest weekend for drive-ins in years. 

If you are going to see Top Gun: Maverick this weekend, why not go see it on the largest screens available which are at drive-in theaters.  There are about 330 drive-ins remaining in the United States, 40 in Canada and 13 in Australia.  Almost all drive-ins are showing Top Gun: Maverick this weekend.  To find a drive-in near you, visit our Drive-in Search Page.    

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