Arizona Attractions Become Drive-In Movie Theaters For Distanced Entertainment

By Steve Goldstein, Mark Brodie
Published: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 12:12pm
Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 2:20pm

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Salt River Fields drive-in movie
Christina Cash
A drive-in movie at Salt River Fields in May 2020.

Movie theaters in Arizona are allowed to reopen after stay-at-home orders were lifted by Gov. Doug Ducey May 16. But many of them are choosing to stay closed for the time being.

Which may leave some people asking, where can I see a movie that isn’t my couch?

The answer is drive-ins. Yes, the popular movie method of the 1950s is having a comeback of sorts because of social distancing. People have rediscovered the few drive-in theaters left in the greater Phoenix area, but also, some unexpected places are turning into drive-ins.

The Lake Pleasant harbor, Schnepf Farms and Salt River Fields are among the list of locations that are adding drive-in movies to their list of amenities right now. 

Another location is the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel. It’s turning a big parking lot into a drive-in theater, but Teresa Thompson, director of retail and resort experience for the property, says it’s for more than just to give people something to do.

“During this time, we unfortunately had to furlough most of our team here at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. And our team is definitely family, and it’s important that we take care of them during this time," Thompson said. "So we’ve initiated a meal program actually so we do a meal pickup twice a week for our entire team. We have about 1,200 colleagues here on property. We launched the drive-in, which has been a great initiative for the community to engage and enjoy but also 100% of the proceeds are actually going to feed our team here at the hotel that’s currently on furlough.”

Most of these drive-ins are showing family friendly films and are offering no-contact concessions.

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