The Comeback Of Drive-In Movie Theaters: History And The Most Unique Ones Still Open Today

Spending an evening at the movie theater has been a popular pastime for decades. The first drive-in opened in the early 1930s and more started to pop up after World War II. They were a great alternative to traditional theaters because families could go without worrying if their kids were going to be disruptive. Also, the tickets were usually sold per car, so it was a cheaper solution for bigger groups. Today, many people are avoiding large gatherings in enclosed spaces, so drive-in movie theaters have started to make a comeback. Take a look into the history of these theaters and learn about some unique ones you can visit today.

The First Drive-In Movie Theater

old 30s cars sitting in a drive-in movie theater with a black and white movie on the screen
ullstein bild via Getty Images
ullstein bild via Getty Images

The very first drive-in movie theater opened on June 6, 1933, in Camden, New Jersey. Ticket prices were 25 cents and the marquee sign read, “Drive-In Theatre – World’s First Sit In Your Car – See and Hear Movies.” Pretty soon an abundance of drive-ins started to pop up across the United States.

Drive-ins were started by a movie fan and auto salesman named Richard Hollingshead who got the idea after seeing his mother struggling to sit comfortably in a theater. Most drive-ins showed B-movies, which were films not considered good enough to show in theaters.