MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russians got a taste of open-air cinema under balmy twilit skies on Thursday when a Moscow drive-in movie theater re-opened for business after the city’s coronavirus lockdown ended.
On the bill was “My Spy”, a U.S. action comedy and, with regular cinemas still closed three days after the two-month lockdown was lifted, scores of moviegoers parked up to watch.
“I want to go out in the open air. This is a great opportunity to watch a movie with friends under the sky,” said one, who gave his name only as Pavel.
Olga Zinyakova, president of Karo, the movie chain that is running the 100-vehicle-capacity site in northwest Moscow, said it would be exploring how it could open more drive-in theaters even after all coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted.
“We feel that this format has undeservedly been forgotten,” she said.
Even if regular movie theaters reopen as planned next month, Karo estimates that revenues across Russia’s cinema chains will fall between 35% and 40% this year.
According to recommendations by the country’s consumer health watchdog, theater audience members will have remain at least 1.5 meters (five feet) apart and employees will have to disinfect cinemas between screenings.
Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; additional reporting by Tatyana Gomozova; editing by John Stonestreet