Drive-in movie theaters were briefly a light in the darkness when conventional theaters started closing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. But when we checked in with them two months ago, many of the drive-ins mentioned in the Times and other outlets were subsequently forced to close by ever more stringent shutdown regulations. With states now reopening, outdoor theaters like the Starlight, in Atlanta, are up and running again, and our favorite New York-area drive-in, the Warwick, is finally about to join their ranks.
The Warwick, built in 1950 and located an hour and a half upstate, and 30 minutes from popular day-trip destination Harriman State Park, had applied for an exception to the state’s non-essential business shutdown in order to open in April. That didn’t happen, but on Monday Governor Cuomo announced that low-risk activities– including landscaping, tennis and drive-in movies– would be permitted to reopen throughout the state. Tonight’s opening slate at the Warwick is Sonic the Hedgehog, Trolls World Tour, Invisible Man, Bad Boys For Life, Bloodshot, and Jumanji: The Next Level.
Among new social-distancing rules: customers will be required to wear masks outside of their vehicles and stay six feet apart while using the restrooms. “Masks are not required while sitting inside your vehicle with the windows up,” a list of rules informs. “If the windows are down and 6 feet of space is maintained, no masks are required.“ Only one member per car can go to the concession stand. (Pro tip: in the past, the Warwick has sold some very cool glow-in-the-dark t-shirts.)
Warwick announced on Facebook that they had learned of Cuomo’s announcement at the “last minute,” but they quickly set up an online ticketing system– a first for the theater. As of this afternoon, all online tickets to all films were sold out through Sunday, though a limited number of tickets will be available at the box office. Advance tickets to the theater’s most popular double bill, Jumanji and Bloodshot, were sold out through Monday, with just 7 tickets left for Thursday’s showing.
Another NYC-area drive-in, the Hyde Park Drive-In Theatre, about two hours north of the city, will reopen May 22 with showings of Sonic the Hedgehog and Grease. The Overlook Drive-In, also about two hours north of the city in Poughkeepsie, will also reopen May 22 with Trolls World Tour and Invisible Man.