Drive-in theaters and pop-up drive-in theaters are making a comeback during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 19, the City of Ontario, the Ontario International Airport (ONT) and the Street Food Cinema Production Group hosted a drive-in movie night for about 300 cars in one of the parking lots at the airport.
Two 50-foot inflatable screens were erected for the movie "Ford v Ferrari" and the sound was broadcast through a designated FM radio station to each car.
Dan Bell, the communications and community relations director for the City of Ontario, said that because of the coronavirus crisis, all of the city's usual community events were canceled.
The city asked staff members to come up with alternative fun and safe events for community members, and the result was an idea of "an old school drive-in theater," said Bell.
The city, along with its partners, put a plan together that was free to the public. Families were encouraged to bring a food donation, if possible, for a voluntary food drive.
"Ford v Ferrari," which was released in 2019, had several scenes filmed at ONT as well as at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
The screenwriter of the film, Jason Keller, made a personal appearance at the event and provided some background information to the attendees by giving a speech through the FM station.
The event had a no-contact approach, and online reservations were required to attend. As the cars drove through, a family member showed the reservation on a phone to a staff member, who wore a mask or shield and maintained a safe distance from the car.
Family members were given a wooden airplane that they could assemble.
Food trucks and portable restrooms were available for the attendees. Families used social distancing and were allowed to tailgate, bring their own food and drinks, and sit in chairs outside their cars to watch the film.
Three other free movies are planned at the airport this summer: "The Sandlot" on July 3, “Princess Bride” on July 17, and “Napoleon Dynamite” on July 31. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. Movie-goers are asked to reserve their spot by visiting: https://ontmktg.info/ONT-Movie-Night-1.