During COVID, drive-in theaters have their day

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The Milford Drive-In sign off of Route 101A. Besides being open with social distancing this weekend, the drive-in will feature a Bon Jovi concert on May 22.

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With movie theaters closed across the country, Bob Scharmette and his family want people to know the Milford Drive-In is open for business with plenty of space for customers to spread out.

Indoor theaters have had an advantage over drive-ins for years because they can show movies any time of the day, year-round, and people still show up when it rains. But COVID drove them to close shop and go dark, while drive-ins have remained open, with family members arriving in their own cars and watching a show, safely, outside.

So far, they have had a slower start to the season than Scharmette had hoped due to a stretch of rainy, windy weather.

“Last year, we didn’t open up till May 15. So, this year we opened a couple weeks earlier and the weather’s been against us. And it’s going to be against us this week I understand,” said Scharmette, who has run the drive-in with and family for more than 50 years.

Scharmette requires customers to wear masks when they are outside their vehicles and all the concession workers wear masks and gloves. Scharmette said that both the employees’ safety as well as that of the public is of the utmost importance to their family as they try to reopen at full capacity this season.

This weekend, screen one is showing “Wrath of Man” followed by “Nobody.” Screen two is showing, “It” followed by “Demon Slayer The Movie,” which will be dubbed in English.

They are hoping to eventually show new movies again, but are unsure right now when new movies will be released. Before the pandemic they used to always play first-run films, and are looking forward to doing so again. 

But Scharmette isn’t exactly sure when that will happen.

“Due to COVID-19, the constant changing scene in Hollywood, and all new movies slated to come out constantly being delayed, we do not know what we are showing the coming weeks,” the Milford Drive-In website says.

The Milford Drive-In theatre will be open this weekend and will feature a Bon Jovi concert presentation on May 22nd.

There is one special event coming soon that Scharmette is hoping will draw a crowd.

Encore Drive-In Nights featuring Bon Jovi will be shown at outdoor venues across the United States, Canada and Ireland on Saturday, May 22. The never-before-seen show was recorded live, exclusively for this one-night-only event at drive-ins and outdoor venues.

Doors for the event will open at 5:00 p.m. and it will start at 8:00 p.m. The general admission tickets for the show cost $89 and can be bought through the Milford Drive-In website. Scharmette said they have already sold several tickets, but there are plenty still available. 

All of the movies start at 8:00 p.m. and the cost is $30 per carload of up to six people. The Milford drive-in is located at 531 Elm Street. For more information, call (603) 673-4090 or visit milforddrivein.com.

The Weirs Drive-In theater hasn’t opened for the season yet.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org