By the third week in March, most movie theaters in the United States were already closed. AMC theaters announced a 12-week shutdown, which means they plan to open the first week in June. In the meantime, studios have kept busy by either rescheduling their 2020 films to a later date this year or moving them back entirely to 2021.
Even though the movie theaters are taking a break, don’t be surprised if drive-in movie theaters in Minnesota open up soon. These locations are already being used to hold church services that have been approved by the social distancing guidelines set. There are just over 300 drive-ins left in the country, and Minnesota has four: Vali-HI, Starlite, Elko and Long. As of right now, these drive-ins have yet to open for the season, but don’t be surprised if the governor’s newest executive order opens up these locations following the announcement of the opening of Minnesota golf courses.
But drive-in theaters could still be hit hard if studios continue to delay theatrical releases or release films early on digital platforms. At the very least, with families eager to get out of the house and no theme parks or camps to let their kids loose in, perhaps drive-in theaters could enjoy the biggest comeback they’ve had since the ’50s. Hell, drive-ins could literally feature anything and people would jump at the idea to get out of the house. When they do open for business, check out these drive- ins that attribute to that perfect Minnesota summer.
Located in Lake Elmo just 20 miles east of Minneapolis, Vali-Hi Drive-In sells adult tickets for $9.50 and children tickets for $1 with kids 5 and under free 99. And, besides showing three feature-length films, the drive-in also offers concessions and a video game arcade for theater-goers who arrive early enough to enjoy.
Starlite is located in Litchfield about an hour and a half west from Minneapolis. With two screens that each show two films, famlies can choose which features they’d prefer to see. Admission for adults is $7, $3 for children and free for children 5 and under.
Long Drive-In Theatre
If you’re up north or by your cabin in Brainerd, Long Drive-In Theatre is only an hour away. For those in beautiful Alexandria, it takes even less time—40 minutes. Open since 1956, this theater not only provides two feature films, but also camping (tent and RV) and a full-service fast food restaurant that is open all night long. Check the website for menu items and a tentative schedule for summer 2020.
Elko Drive-In Theater
Movies start 20 minutes after the final race finishes at the Speedway located in the south suburbs of Minnesota. Saturdays at Elko, formerly known as Champions, are meant for having fun while playing today’s current blockbusters. They have a stocked concessions stand and you can also lite up the grill and BBQ. Bring all those char grilled items on the grate early and enjoy dinner and a movie!