March 29, 2023


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How movies stay coronavirus free – Variety

6 min read

Drive-in movie theaters received a rescue during the coronavirus epidemic. As one of the few recreational joints safe to travel outdoors, they have enjoyed a huge boost of popularity. Rick Cohen, owner of the Transit Drive-in Theater, said he would not return.

Outdoor moviewings, which were once seen as a symbol of another century, have become itchy for those who go for social distance from their couches to go for it. That’s Cohen’s left, whose venue is overflowing in New York, regularly calling local and national journalists.

“I’m waking up all these media – they’re all over the drive-in resurgence,” Cohen says. Diversity A few days after its opening for the theater season. “Drive-ins are not resurfacing. Drive-ins are doing well. This media resurgence makes it seem like drive-ins still exist. “

That may be true, but there is no reason to deny that drive-in theaters are uniquely suited for success when most multiplexes are closed due to the global health crisis. And while there are still not many left in the United States – about 300 drive-ins still exist, compared to about 5,400 brick-and-mortar theaters – they are rare bright spots for the exhibition industry. Most of those who own and manage moviegoers are struggling to survive, leaving them without any way to make money while closing theaters.

Cohen considers himself one of the lucky ones.

The transit-drive, 30 minutes south of Buffalo in Lockport, is seasonal (probably a good thing considering the Arctic chill in western New York most of the winter). It doesn’t open until early summer when it’s finally hot enough to spend the hot time outside. Cohen planned to wash the projectors and set up shop in mid-March for the sequel to John Krasinski’s haunting hit sequel “A Quiet Place II”. When Paramount pulled it out of release, Cohen delayed reopening it – voluntarily at first before it became mandatory two weeks later.

Last week, the governor of New York. Andrew Cuomo again allowed the drive-in to sell tickets and the transit drive-in was able to open just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. In many movies, including Cohen, the last of September remains the busiest time of the year in September.

But with Cohen sailing for the first time in 33 years, things in transit drive-in look a bit different.

For one, he puts capacity at 50% in the parking lot to allow more space in the vehicle. This results in a roughly sp40 spot in the night drawing across five screens. There are an average of 2.3 adults per car, but even with a ১০ 10 run on a sinner, Cohen’s math advice is “potential money on the table.”

“When we sell regularly during the summer, a whole new movie comes along and the weather stays good,” he said.

Also for the first time tickets are only being sold online. This security measure limits cash handling, ensuring that tickets are not oversold. “I have to pay higher processing fees because I can’t take cash,” he said. “But it’s better than shutting down.”

Still, Cohen is not worried about limited sales. “Opening a drive-in for me was not about how much money I could make. It was about serving people safely,” he said.

Here’s a look at a typical night now:

5:50 p.m. – Arrive at Transit Drive

Before Cohen’s day began, he first started working, often replying to emails, and leading the way in running other tasks before continuing to receive voicemails from patrons. Although the tapes didn’t start rolling until 9 a.m., he arrived 6 hours before the clock to welcome interested customers hoping to get the best spot in the lot.

“There’s just so much space in the front,” he said. “Before, they would throw a frisbee around or take the dog out. A drive-in is part camping, part movie theater and part tailgate party. So now, it’s a little less than each of them, but still fun. “

6 pm – Start scanning tickets

The online-only system has a variety of benefits for just buying tickets, although overall they have found that it makes visitors more efficient. Staff can systematically scan tickets before sending through customers.

But the new process is not without hiccups.

“We immediately noticed that all the people who bought tickets on the three-day ticket made a mistake or changed their mind,” he became furious. “It’s really growing. We had to go into more detail on our website ticket purchase page. Obviously all transactions are final, no exceptions, not clear enough.”

6 pm – 9 pm. – Sell discounts and keep restrooms clean

No movie experience would be complete without a large tub of popcorn and an ice cold soda. Also, discount stand sales are a major source of revenue for theaters. Plexiglass is installed at the snack bar, where each cashier is equipped with their own bottle of sanitizer. They are also donating masks and gloves. Only one registrar is allowed to take cash. It requires two employees, one to handle the food and one to handle the transaction. A second registrar accepts a credit card and a third is reserved for advance orders managed by phone.

“I ordered hands-free sanitizer stations in March. I was lucky to get these in May, “Cohen said.” I had to beg my supplier for them. The producers can keep everything. It’s that I got my hands on three of them … Someone was looking for me there. I was lucky. “

The snack bar has two entrances, with two more staff members monitoring the area to make sure no more than 10 people are in attendance at once.

“This is another group of staff members who are not on the schedule we are giving for security.” “People are not going to the police because they are on their own. You need someone as much space as you can for someone in your house.”

Restrooms are also a concern, Cohen acknowledges, so attendants sanitize 16 stalls after each use. It requires three extra people – a survey line outside the bathroom, a woman to disinfect the women’s room and a man to disinfect the men’s room.

“We want everyone who uses our restroom to feel safe. The only way to do that is to literally disinfect the stall after each use, ”he said.

9 p.m. Roll the tapes

Most drive-theaters tempt families on double-bill evenings. However, the transit drive-in shows only a single feature in an attempt to reduce foot traffic at restrooms and discount stands.

“We don’t want to encourage people to stay in two movies where there’s a crush on restroom use,” Cohen said. “It simply came to our notice then. This is something we don’t like to do because one of the benefits of participating in drive-ins is the dual feature. “

As new movies are being released, films such as “Trolls World Tour” and “The Invisible Man” have been Mark’s mainstays in recent times. “People like scary movies in drive-ins. Horror and suspense make it better, ”he said. “And family pictures are very popular.”

11:30 p.m. Ushar’s last car came out

Usually, showtimes get stuck so there is no crazy dash to go. They are still experimenting with what works best. However, for the most part, that aspect continues smoothly.

He said, “You don’t have a discount stand without any hindrance. “Everyone leaves as soon as the movie is over.”

11:45 pm Clean the place

When the final car came out of the field, Cohen sent his crew to clean up any debris left behind.

“He’s funny,” he said, collecting covid-infected trash from the parking lot. We’re wearing PPE gloves and tossing in trash bags. As long as you’re aware of what you’re doing and don’t wear protective gear, you don’t have to wear a hazmat suit. “

12 o’clock in the morning. Send the crew home

Working on the drive often means deep nights, but in the age of the coronavirus, the shifts ended a little earlier. The intermission is usually around midnight, which signals a blitz to buy popcorn, hot dogs and fries before the second movie starts playing. On average they would leave by about 2 a.m. a day – sometimes after 2:30 if it was a long movie. (“It should be a law,” he said, “all drama movies should be two hours or less.”)

Cohen said, “What’s weird is that I feel more tired after a single-character performance, coming out before midnight than I did before showing two movies?” “It simply came to our notice then. You feel a lot more responsibility – the burden of human health and safety. “

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