There may be a pandemic, but you don’t have to give up outdoor movies–or at least not entirely. Clever pop-up series have shifted from crowding parks with viewers on picnic blankets to setting up massive parking-lot screens inspired by classic American drive-in movie theaters. Sure, the logistics will be a little more challenging, but these pop-up drive-in movie series might just be the biggest entertainment events of the season.
Enjoy the views from atop the garage of the Grove at these screenings. Tickets include a gourmet dinner package from Picnic Society by Gwen, including classic dishes and Halloween-themed treats.
October 21, 7:30 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 28, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
Gather near the Malibu Country Mart at the site of Malibu’s annual Chili Cook Off for these community events on a three-story-tall screen. Online reservations are required; tickets are offered on a “donations requested” basis.
October 30, 7 p.m. The Nightmare Before Christmas
October 31, 7 p.m. Ghostbusters
Held at Dignity Sports Arena in Carson, home of the L.A. Galaxy, this new series benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs. When you buy a ticket for your own car ($50) you can also opt to donate one to a family in need. The set-up already accommodates 200 cars, but organizers say they may be able to expand capacity soon.
October 22, 6 p.m. Transformers
October 22, 9:30 p.m. War of the Worlds
October 23, 6 p.m. Thor
October 23, 9:30 p.m. Gladiator
October 24, 3 p.m. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
October 24, 5:30 p.m. Shrek
October 24, 8 p.m. Iron Man
October 25, 3 p.m. Madagascar
October 25, 5:30 p.m. How to Train Your Dragon
October 25, 8 p.m. Captain America: The First Avenger
American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood is establishing this 30-car drive-in with plans to show films seven days a week. The theater is set up with a state of the art 4K projection system–under the loving care of the Hollywood Legion Theater’s chief projectionist–and there are plans to screen 35mm analog film, beloved by cinephiles, in the future.
October 20, 7 p.m. Rosemary’s Baby
October 21, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 22, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 23, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 24, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 25, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 27, 7 p.m. The Omen
October 28, 7 p.m. Marathon Man
October 29, 7 p.m. Get Out
October 30, 7 p.m. Universal Monster Night
October 31, 6:30 p.m. Psycho
October 31, 9:30 p.m. Psycho
Enjoy Halloween-themed film screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a possibly-haunted, definitely-glam Old Hollywood hotspot. The “Spooky Sundays” series offers both general and VIP tickets; refreshments will be available from a converted Airstream trailer bar.
October 11, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 18, 6:30 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 18, 9:15 p.m. The Exorcist
October 25, 6:30 p.m. The Addams Family
October 25, 9:30 p.m. Halloween II
The L.A. Zoo is using its ample parking lot for a family-friendly drive-in series. They’ve grouped their sections into three themes: “Hair-Raising Halloween,” “The Brilliant Betty White,” and, naturally, “Animal Adventures.” Films are accompanied by pre-show entertainment featuring videos of zoo animals and other fun add-ons. For Halloween screenings, participants are encouraged to come in costume or decorate their car for the occasion.
October 16, 8 p.m. Doolittle
October 17, 8 p.m. Zootopia
October 18, 8 p.m. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
October 23, 8 p.m. The Proposal
October 24, 8 p.m. The Lorax
October 25, 8 p.m. Lake Placid
October 29, 8 p.m. Clue
October 30, 8 p.m. Goosebumps
October 31, 8 p.m. The Addams Family
November 1, 8 p.m. Poltergeist
Designed as an “immersive” movie-going experience, this drive-in series in Chinatown incorporates film, food, local designers and retailers, music, and charity, all in one. Each feature will be shows along with curated shorts, music videos, and additional programming; NTS Radio will provide DJ sets.
November 13, 6 p.m. The Love Witch
November 14, 6 p.m. The Beach Bum
December 11, 8 p.m. TBA
December 12, 8 p.m. TBA
One of L.A.’s favorite pop-up drive-ins—one that predates the pandemic—is back with a new Glendale location atop the old Sears parking garage at 236 N. Central Avenue.
October 1, 7:30 p.m. Tommy
October 1, 10:10 p.m. Pink Floyd: The Wall
October 2, 7:30 p.m. Poltergeist
October 2, 10:10 p.m. The Lost Boys
October 3, 7:30 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
October 3, 10:10 p.m. Phantasm
October 4, 7:30 p.m. E.T.
October 8, 7:30 p.m. Death Proof
October 8, 10 p.m. Maximum Overdrive
October 9, 7:15 p.m. Trick R Treat
October 9, 9:30 p.m. Creepshow
October 10, 7:15 p.m. IT: Chapter One
October 10, 10:15 p.m. Carrie
October 16, 7:15 p.m. Get Out
October 16, 9:45 p.m. The Cabin in the Woods
October 17, 7:15 p.m. The Exorcist
October 17, 10:05 p.m. The Conjuring
October 18, 7 p.m. The Addams Family
October 23, 7:15 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
October 23, 9:30 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors
October 24, 7 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 24, 9:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 25, 7 p.m. The Nightmare Before Christmas
October 30, 7:15 p.m. Friday the 13th: Part One
October 30, 9:30 p.m. Friday the 13th, Part IV: The Final Chapter
November 1, 7 p.m. Coco
The Andaz hotel on the Sunset Strip has partnered for this series with YEA! Impact, a group that organizes entertainment industry professionals to work for social justice causes. In addition to film screenings, some events feature live performances; food and beverage is available to order.
October 2, 8 p.m. Burn!
October 3, 8 p.m. Breathless
October 9, 8 p.m. The Long Goodbye
October 10, 8 p.m. The Man Who Fell to Earth
October 16, 8 p.m. Idiocracy (Drive-In 4 Biden Fundraiser & Auction)
October 23, 8 p.m. The Hills Have Eyes
October 29, 8 p.m. Suspiria
October 30, 8 p.m. American Warewolf in London
October 31, 8 p.m. Young Frankenstein / Braindead AKA Dead Alive (Halloween Double Feature)
The L.A. Arts Society has always staged screenings for fellow cinephiles–they just look a little different this year. Showings are staged at the “backlot” of the indie Gardena Cinema theater; some include in-person appearances by talent.
October 1, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 1, 10:30 p.m. The Craft
October 2, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 2, 10:30 p.m. The Craft
October 3, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 3, 10:30 p.m. From Dusk Till Dawn
October 4, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 4, 10:30 p.m. From Dusk Till Dawn
October 5, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 22, 7 p.m. 8th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival
October 23, 10 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
October 24, 10 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
October 25, 12:30 a.m. Friday the 13th (Midnight Screening)
October 25, 10 p.m. Friday the 13th
October 29, 7 p.m. Halloween
October 29, 10 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
October 30, 7 p.m. Halloween
October 30, 10 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
October 31, 7 p.m. Halloween
October 31, 10 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
November 1, 7 p.m. Halloween
November 1, 10 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
For the last few summers, this pop-up series was already offering the drive-in experience, so we’re happy to see they returned this year. The films are typically Valley-centric in content or filming locations. Screenings take place at the Westfield Fashion Square mall in Sherman Oaks.
October 16, 7 p.m. Edward Scissorhands / Pet Sematary
October 17, 7 p.m. Labyrinth / Child’s Play
October 23, 7 p.m. Casper / Poltergeist
October 24, 7 p.m. Hotel Transylvania / Scream
The 15-acre Roadium in Torrance opened in 1948 as a drive-in cinema, but by the ’80s the space was mostly used as a swap meet (specifically, the swap meet where, legend has it, a record seller introduced Eazy-E to Dr. Dre). Now the space is going back to its roots for occasional pop-up movie nights.
October 2, 6 p.m. Shrek 2
October 10, 7 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 29, 6 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
October 30, 6:30 p.m. Nightmare Before Christmas
November 14, 7 p.m. Ratatouille
November 21, 6:30 p.m. Toy Story
December 11, 6:30 p.m The Polar Express
Local art house cinema chain Laemmle has adapted to the current moment by taking screenings to the Roadium drive-in theater in Torrance. Expect quirky new indie films, some accompanied by filmmaker talk-backs.
October 1, 6:30 p.m. 12 Hour Shift
October 8, 6:30 p.m. She Is the Ocean
October 14, 6:30 p.m. Bad Hair
Located at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, this series is run by the same organizers who are also using the venue for drive-in concerts from Third Eye Blind, Fitz and the Tantrums, and other acts. More showings to be announced.
September 30, 7 p.m. Pretty Woman
October 3, 7 p.m. The Big Lebowski
October 13, 7 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 14, 7 p.m. The Blair Witch Project
October 26, 7 p.m. Scream
October 27, 7 p.m. Hotel Transylvania
October 28, 7 p.m. The Silence of the Lambs
October 29, 7 p.m. Halloween
November 1, 7 p.m. The Biggest Little Farm
Orange County’s non-profit art house cinema is hosting drive-in nights at Anaheim’s Zion Lutheran Church & School. The two July dates scheduled so far have both sold out, but the org recommends subscribing to their newsletter to get announcements about more dates to come. Check out Frida’s “virtual cinema” streaming fundraiser, too.
September 29, 8:30 p.m. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
September 30, 8:30 p.m. RBG (Free Screening)
October 2, 8:30 p.m. Night of the Living Dead / The Evil Dead
October 3, 8:30 p.m. Night of the Living Dead / The Evil Dead
October 6, 8:30 p.m. Hausu
October 9, 8:30 p.m. Possessor Uncut
October 10, 8:30 p.m. Flash Gordon / Xanadu
October 13, 8:30 p.m. The Fog
October 16, 8:30 p.m. Puppetmaster / Chopping Mall
October 20, 8:30 p.m. Deep Red
October 27, 8:30 p.m. Evil Dead 2
Country music festival Tailgate Fest may not have happened in August as originally planned, but the organizers put their car-partying expertise into a new venture: a series of drive-in movie nights.
October 2, 8:30 p.m. Remember the Titans
October 3, 8:30 p.m. Moana
Get out of the car and sit in a distanced deck chair by the pool at this swanky Santa Monica hotel. Sunset films offer a romantic date night option or fun family outing. Tickets are free with a $25 food and drink minimum; full service from FIG Restaurant is available.
October 3, 7 p.m. Hook
October 9, 7 p.m. How to Train Your Dragon
October 16, 7 p.m. Cheaper by the Dozen
October 24, 7 p.m. Little Rascals
The Regency Theaters chain has opened this Van Nuys drive-in movie theater offering screenings under the stars. A full concession stand is available, orders can be placed in advance online to minimize wait time.
October 1, 7:30 p.m. Demolition Man
October 7, 7 p.m. Halloween
October 7, 9:45 p.m. Halloween 2
October 8, 9 p.m. Screamfest: Initiation and Horror Shorts
October 9, 9 p.m. Screamfest: An Ideal Host and Horror Shorts
October 10, 9 p.m. Screamfest: Anonymous Animals and Horror Shorts
October 11, 7:30 p.m. Screamfest Short Scares: Volume 1
October 12, 9:15 p.m. Screamfest Sweet River and Horror Shorts
October 13, 9 p.m. Screamfest: A Ghost Waits and Horror Shorts
October 14, 7 p.m. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
October 14, 9:45 p.m. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
November 1, 7:30 p.m. Stand By Me
This O.C. screening series brings drive-in movie nights to the parking lots of Brea Mall and the Outlets at San Clemente. Check event website to confirm screening location and other details.
October 1, 7:30 p.m. The Notebook
October 1, 8 p.m. Casper
October 2, 7:30 p.m. Secret Life of Pets 2
October 2, 8 p.m. The Goonies
October 3, 7:30 p.m. The Goonies
October 4, 7:30 p.m. La La Land
October 4, 8 p.m. Beetlejuice
This popular rooftop (non drive-in) screening series is returning for a shortened, socially-distanced season. You’ll sit in designated chairs, spaced out from other groups, and must consent to temperature reading and mask requirements–but otherwise, it’s largely the classic summer tradition you remember.
The biggest annual summer outdoor movie series didn’t let us down, pivoting to a program of in-car entertainment. The schedule is reduced this year, but still includes multiple venues, and there will still be food trucks on site. Street Food Cinema is also a cohost of the Level 8 Drive-In series at the Americana, listed below. (SFC will also rent you the gear for your own drive-in screening or larger-than-life projected wedding ceremony.)
A bummer about all these pop-ups? They sell out fast. This Long Beach pop-up drive-in, which is parking itself atop the Whole Foods parking deck at the 2nd and PCH shopping center, offers stand-by tickets on a first-come, first serve basis. Note that times vary based on sunset.
Presented by Porsche, this series will take place at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, with space to accommodate around 75 cars per showing. Attendees will need to agree to COVID-19 safety rules and sign a waiver to participate.
Your favorite walk-in(?) theater chain is heading outside, hosting films at the Vineland Drive-In. Sponsored by FIJI Water, the series focuses mostly on new-release indie flicks. Some showings include appearances by cast and crew.
The annual film festival celebrating LGBTQ+ cinema is back in a hybrid online and in-person form. Binge dozens of movies on their online Outfest Now streaming platform, and turn out for a selection of drive-in screenings at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.
Curated by actor Michael B. Jordan (and featuring several of his starring roles) this Amazon-sponsored series of double-features takes place at City of Industry’s full-time drive-in movie theater, the Vineland Drive-In. Refreshments are on Amazon, all purchased from diverse-owned local businesses.
This national series has announced two SoCal locations, San Juan Capistrano and Woodland Hills, which schedule a limited run of films. Check the website for announcements of additional dates.
Love Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? Then you’ll want to head to the Grove’s rooftop parking deck for this series, produced by Street Food Cinema and presented by Amazon Prime. Each screening night will feature episodes of the show, snacks, cupcakes, gift bags and more–and it’s all free with online registration (limit: two guests per car).
Sagebrush Cantina is offering micro-drive-in nights outside its Calabasas restaurant. In addition to a $25 pass for the car, you’ll need to spend at least $15 on food and drink from the restaurant during the show.
Not actually a drive-in series (more of a walk-up?) but we’re including here as it’s one of the very few outdoor movie options this summer that aren’t vehicle-based. In an attempt to comply with COVID protocols, a small number of guests will be able to purchase seats for these screenings, and the seats will be placed several feet apart. Additional protocols and guidelines can be found on the website. As in previous years, the series takes place on the roof at WeHo’s E.P. & L.P. and includes food and drink upgrades available for purchase.
RELATED: Movie Theaters Are Still Closed, but These Drive-Ins Are Open for Business
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