INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — On Friday night, hundreds of people went to the movies in Independence. Not indoors, but at a drive-in.
B&B Theatres Twin Drive-In made changes to keep people safe. As people continued to pour in more than 30 minutes after showtime, it was apparent after weeks of staying at home, most people are starving for some entertainment.
“When we heard it was open on FOX4, we said, ‘Yep we are coming out to the drive in,’” movie-goer Kim Austin said.
“It’s been a long time with not a lot to do, so it’s nice to have something to look forward to see our customers again and see movies up on screen,” said Jacob Mellor, a corporate trainer for the theater chain.
The ’80s classic Goonies and 2017 hit Wonder Woman were on the screen.
“There aren’t new movies. Hollywood is shut down as well,” said Bobby Bagby Ford, executive vice president of B&B Theatres said.
They have room for 375 cars on each side. On Friday night, Goonies sold out an hour before showtime — proof people were ready to get back to the movies.
The theater company brought in employees from its locations in Lee’s Summit and Shawnee to help enforce social distancing rules around cars — where no lawn chairs were allowed — and the restrooms and concession stands.
Yes the concession stands are open; after all, who can really watch a movie without popcorn?
“It absolutely takes more employees, which is difficult because it’s less customers and more employees that are needed, so it’s a difficult thing for business to navigate,” Bagby Ford said.
But B&B hopes classic movies at the drive-in will get them through until July when new movies might be released.
Saturday night they’ll feature Wizard of Oz and Groundhog Day, which seemed appropriate since many moviegoers felt like they’ve been living the same day over and over.
“We’ve been cooped up,” Scott McMahon said. “I know I have two young kids. Having us all in the same house has definitely been a challenge. So getting to go out and do this I think it’s a great opportunity to see a movie I’ve already seen before but I can enjoy safely.”
They’ll only be showing one movie on each screen so hopefully not as many people have to use the restroom.
A couple other changes they’ve made: There’s no cash exchanged, and they encouraging people to buy tickets online. It’s $20 per carload, and doors open at 7:30 p.m.
The movies will rotate, with Goonies and Wonder Woman showing again on Sunday and Tuesday and Groundhog Day and Wizard of Oz also playing on Monday and Wednesday.