Drive-in movie theaters are perfect for the times, but there are still challenges to them

Can you believe that Jurassic Park, the Steven Spielberg dinosaur flick from 1993, was the highest grossing movie during the weekend of June 19-21? It’s hard to believe, but its reemergence was fueled by the popularity of drive-in movie theaters popping up throughout the country. It’s sort of expected, naturally, as people continue to explore other forms of entertainment while continuing to practice social distancing.

Locally, drive-in movie theaters have already popped up at some local venues. Take for example the two previous drive-in movie events that were organized by Garden State Brazilian Jui-Jitsu Academy in Red Bank. The mixed martial arts academy leveraged its ample sized parking lot to host a drive-in movie night to benefit local charities and organizations, which proved to be big draws. And now, it looks as though Bell Works is exploring the idea to offer its own drive-in movie experience at its sprawling location.

With more and more drive-in movie theaters continue to pop up locally, there are still some challenges to consider as we move closer to peak summertime. Right now, the weather condition are favorable for these drive-in movie theaters, as most nights the temperature dips enough to make the experience comfortable for move goers. However, there are nights during the summer when the temperature and humidity make almost any outdoor activity unbearable — and some may be tempted to turn on their vehicles’ air conditioning system for relief. As a result, though, you may have several vehicles idling, which not only dampens the experience due to the noise, but idling for a long period of time is frowned upon.

Red Bank typically held movie nights during the summer at Riverside Gardens Park.

The weather is no doubt one of biggest challenges to overcome for any drive-in movie theater, but there are also some other things that arise. How about bathroom breaks? It may be dependent on the venue, but it’s something to consider when you’re there for around 2 hours.

Beyond that, there are the alternatives. In the past, Red Bank hosted movie nights at Riverside Gardens Park, where people sat down in the grassy areas to watch movies. And even though there are no plans about any drive-in movie theater in the heart of downtown Red Bank, the White Street parking lot and Marine Park lot would seem like ideal candidates. Alternatively, the same can be said about other nearby destinations, such as The Grove at Shrewsbury.

Right now, drive-in movie theaters are attractive alternatives that the entire family can enjoy — or even a couple for a date night idea. If you’re able to endure the warmer conditions that accompany summertime nights, it’s a unique, very different experience that undeniably has its perks.


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