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. These pop-up drive-in movie series might just be the biggest entertainment events of the season.
Under the “limited stay-at-home” and curfew order effective November 21, non-essential businesses must close by 10 p.m. Please check with event organizers for cancellations or schedule updates. Currently, drive-in movie theaters are allowed by both Los Angeles County and California health restrictions, but that status is subject to change.
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.
January 22, 7 p.m. The Dark Knight Rises
January 23, 7 p.m. Intersteller
January 24, 7 p.m. Dunkirk
January 25, 7 p.m. Tenet
January 27, 7 p.m. Elvis: That’s the Way it Is Special Edition
February 4, 7 p.m. Hidden Figures
February 5, 7 p.m. Do the Right Thing
February 14, 5:45 p.m.The Shop Around the Corner
February 14, 8:20 p.m. When Harry Met Sally
Enjoy throwback film screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a possibly-haunted, definitely-glam Old Hollywood hotspot. The series offers both general and VIP tickets; refreshments will be available from a converted Airstream trailer bar.
January 24, 5:30 p.m. Mean Girls
January 24, 8:30 p.m. Clueless
January 30, 5:30 p.m. The Hunger Games
January 30, 8:30 p.m. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
January 31, 5:30 p.m. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
January 31, 8:30 p.m. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
February 7, 5:30 p.m. Pretty Woman
February 7, 8:30 p.m. Notting Hill
February 12, 5:30 p.m. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
February 12, 8:30 p.m. When Harry Met Sally
February 13, 5:30 p.m. Singin’ in the Rain
February 13, 8:30 p.m. Dirty Dancing
February 14, 5:30 p.m. Casablanca
February 14, 8:30 p.m. The Notebook
February 21, 5:30 p.m. Coming to America
February 21, 8:30 p.m. The Wedding Singer
February 28, 5:30 p.m. Black Panther
February 28, 8:30 p.m. Black Panther
You can now enjoy dinner and a movie at Pizzeria Da Michele. Roll your car into one of their free film screenings and order food to be car-hopped right to you while you watch. Each night’s selection will be a surprise, but expect some holiday-centric and generally feel-good films. Nightly after sunset, starting December 9.
Rooftop Cinema Club had to scrub their typical open-air screenings due to the pandemic, but they’ve come back with car-based showings at the Santa Monica Airport.
January 22, 5:30 p.m. Captain Marvel
January 22, 8:30 p.m. Pretty Woman
January 23, 5:30 p.m. The Sandlot
January 23, 8:15 p.m. The Lion King
January 25, 5:45 p.m. Jumanji: The Next Level
January 25, 9 p.m. Guardians of the Galaxy
January 26, 5:45 p.m. The Secret Life of Pets
January 26, 8:30 p.m. La La Land
January 27, 5:45 p.m. Fantastic Mr. Fox
January 27, 8:15 p.m. Dirty Dancing
January 28, 5:45 p.m. Up
January 28, 8:30 p.m. Clueless
January 29, 5:45 p.m. Sing
January 29, 8:30 p.m. Back to the Future
January 30, 5:45 p.m. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
January 31, 5:45 p.m. Beauty and the Beast
January 31, 8:15 p.m. Labrynth
February 1, 6 p.m. 10 Things I Hate About You
February 1, 8:30 p.m. The Breakfast Club
February 2, 6 p.m. Shrek
February 2, 8:15 p.m. Love Jones
February 3, 8:30 p.m. 500 Days of Summer
February 4, 6 p.m. The Little Mermaid
February 4, 8:15 p.m. Dazed and Confused
February 5, 8:45 p.m. Friday
February 6, 6 p.m. Aladdin
February 6, 8:30 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
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.
January 22, 5:30 p.m. Tenet
January 23, 5:30 p.m. The Shining
January 24, 5:30 p.m. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
January 30, 5:30 p.m. Fargo
January 31, 5:30 p.m. Happy Feet
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.
January 29, 6 p.m Uncle Buck
February 5, 7 p.m. Lady & the Tramp
February 12, 7 p.m. The Notebook
February 19, 7 p.m The Parent Trap
February 26, 7 p.m. Ghost
March 5, 7 p.m. Spy Kids
March 12, 7 p.m. Stand By Me
March 19, 7 p.m Men in Black
March 26, 7 p.m. Mean Girls
Orange County’s non-profit art house cinema is hosting drive-in nights. Check out Frida’s “virtual cinema” streaming fundraiser, too.
January 22, 7:30 p.m. Basket Case / Brain Damage
January 23, 7:30 p.m. Twilight
January 26, 7:30 p.m. Taxi Driver
January 28, 7:30 p.m. The Graduate
January 29, 9 p.m. Fist of Fury / The Way of the Dragon
February 2, 7:30 p.m. Blue Velvet
February 5, 7:30 p.m. Repo Man
February 12, 7:30 p.m. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
February 13, 7:30 p.m. Kill Bill Vol. I / Kill Bill Vol. II
February 14, 7 p.m. Harold and Maude
February 16, 7:30 p.m. My Bloody Valentine
February 19, 7:30 p.m. Akira 4K
February 20, 7:30 p.m. Donnie Darko
February 26, 7:30 p.m. Black Panther
Brea, Westminster, & San Clemente
This O.C. screening series brings drive-in movie nights to the parking lots of three local shopping malls. Check event website to confirm screening location and other details.
January 22, 7:30 p.m. Mrs. Doubtfire
January 24, 6 p.m. Trolls World Tour
Screenings normally take place at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas and Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, but for February move to the Santa Monica Airport. Check listings for details.
February 11, 5 p.m. Cinderella
February 11, 7:45 p.m. 10 Things I Hate About You
February 12, 5 p.m. Mulan
February 12, 7:45 p.m. 500 Days of Summer
February 13, 5 p.m. Aladdin
February 13, 7:45 p.m. Clueless
February 14, 5 p.m. Lady and the Tramp
February 14, 7:45 p.m. When Harry Met Sally
February 19, 5 p.m. Toy Story
February 19, 7:45 p.m. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
February 20, 5 p.m. The Princess and the Frog
February 20, 7:45 p.m. Say Anything
February 21, 5 p.m. Good Burger
February 21, 7:45 p.m. Psycho
February 26, 5 p.m. The Sandlot
February 26, 7:45 p.m. Step Brothers
You’ll be out of your car and seated on the roof pool deck of the JW Marriott at L.A. Live for this series. Tickets include a two course meal plus popcorn, full bar service is available.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This special dinner-and-a-movie event series pairs beloved indie-leaning movies with meals crafted by top chefs. Your ticket includes admission to the film, screened on the event deck at L.A. Live, along with a three-course (plus beverage) meal for each person, overseen by Lexus Culinary Masters.
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.
The ultimate authority in outdoor movies has finally popped back up in this most unusual of film-going seasons. For now, that means a three-screening run as a drive in at the parking lot of the Greek theater. Tickets cover up to four guests inside the car.
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.
The Village at Westfield Topanga shopping center hosts this holiday-themed screening series, so you can can combine a movie and some gift shopping for a festive outing.
Enjoy the views from atop the garage of the Grove at these screenings. Tickets include a dinner package, with classic dishes and holiday-themed treats.
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.
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.
American Cinematheque, normally based in Hollywood, and Beyond Fest have teamed up to curate occasional nights at the Mission Tiki Drive-In Theater located in Montclair. It might be a bit of a hike, but Cinematheque devotees probably won’t mind.
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.
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