In the mood for a movie but tired of being cooped up at home? Drive-in theaters (both pop-up and permanent) are still operating across metro Phoenix area, even as a limited number of traditional indoor cinemas (such as Harkins Theatres and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chains) have begun to reopen as of August 28.
And even with indoor movie-going starting to return, some folks prefer seeing films in the great outdoors, either because it's a safer or more fun experience.
Here’s where you can go in the Valley to find a drive-in flick over the next few weekends.
West Wind Glendale 95650 North 55th Avenue, Glendale, 623-939-9715
The Valley's only permanent drive-in has double features showing nightly on nine screens. It also has strict rules for all patrons, including parking 6 feet from other vehicles and donning face coverings when not sitting in your car.
Lawn chairs and other seating are allowed, but only if they are situated either in front or behind each vehicle. Sitting in pickup beds and cargo areas is also cool. The West Wind’s snack bar has limited items for purchase. You’ll have to maintain 6 feet of distance from others, which also applies to those waiting to use the restrooms.
Gates open at 7 p.m. each night with showings starting at 7:45 p.m. General admission is $7.75 for adults, $1.75 for children 5 to 11, and free for kids 4 and under. (There’s also a “Family Fun Night” on Tuesday with discounted admission.)
West Wind's current schedule includes a mix of new films (including Words on Bathroom Walls and The New Mutants) and previously released favorites. A complete list of showtimes can be found on the West Wind’s website and Facebook page.
Digital Drive-In AZ1901 North Alma School Road, Mesa, 480-308-1515
Digital Drive-In AZ may have closed down its Lake Pleasant location, but the original theater in Mesa is still going strong. There are movies on tap Tuesday through Sunday, ranging from such old-school flicks as The Fox and the Hound to modern-day fare like Men in Black International. One film is screened per evening on a 24-foot-high LED screen with the soundtrack broadcast by a low-power FM transmitter.
Every vehicle gets its own 12-foot-by-20-foot stall, which is surrounded by security barriers and ropes. The drive-in also has porta-potties sanitized by attendants after each use and a contactless ticketing system with phones and printed tickets scanned through the car window.
Admission is $22 per vehicle. Movies start at 7:35 p.m. A snack pack with popcorn and various prepackaged candy (read: RedVines, AirHeads, and M&Ms) is available for $10. A beverage pack with four bottles of either Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, or water is $12. (Both can be purchased online.) Digital Drive-In AZ’s latest schedule is available on its website and Facebook.
The Drive-In at Schnepf Farms24810 East Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek, 480-987-3100
Schnepf Farms has been offering a mix of “your all-time favorite movies and the good ol' classics” multiple nights per week. Most of the usual rules apply: staggered parking, sitting inside vehicles or in truck beds, and socially distancing while using restrooms. According to their website, they aren’t mandating face coverings (“Because we are outdoors, masks are not required”) and people have to bring their own snacks.
Thursdays feature animated films while Fridays will be movies of the action, adventure, and rom-com variety. Family flicks will be shown on Saturdays with crowd-pleasing classics on Sundays. Screenings are from 8 to 10 p.m. There’s a $15 “parking fee” to attend, which is available online, and only 60 spaces will be available each night.
Here’s the upcoming schedule:
Friday, August 28: American Bistro
Saturday, August 29: Encore Drive-In Nights Metallica Virtual Concert (8:15 p.m.)
Drive-In Movie Night at the PrincessFairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale, 480-585-4848
This posh Scottsdale resort will wrap up its summer-long drive-in movie night series on Saturday, August 29, with a screening of the 2016 animated family film Trolls in The Fairmont’s valet parking lot with an intermission and complimentary fireworks show halfway through.
Safety guidelines include parking at least 10 feet from others and staying inside your vehicle unless you’re heading to the restrooms. Alcohol consumption won’t be allowed on the premises. (Additional rules can be found here.)
Parking begins at 7 p.m. with a preshow at 7:30 p.m. and films starting at 8:05 p.m. The fireworks take place halfway through the film. Tickets are $40 per car and include popcorn, two bags of cotton candy, and four bottles of water. (The Fairmont will continue its drive-in movie series this fall starting in mid-September. Details and a full schedule can be found here.)
Pop Up EventsWestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, Scottsdale, 480-312-6802
One of the most recent additions to the drive-in scene is this outdoor theater at WestWorld, which features a 32-by-16-foot LED screen and movies on Friday and Saturday nights. Food and drinks from M Culinary Concepts will be available for purchase. Cars will be parked at least 10 feet from each other, a contactless ticketing system will be used, and the staff will be wearing masks. According to the venue’s website, restrooms are located indoors and will be cleaned and sanitized throughout the night.
Start times and ticket prices vary. Upcoming screenings and events include the following:
Friday, August 28: The Karate Kid (1984)
Saturday, August 29: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Saturday, August 29: Encore Drive-In Nights Metallica Virtual Concert (7:30 p.m.)
Drive-In MoviesApache Junction Rodeo Grounds, 1590 East Lost Dutchman Boulevard, Apache Junction
Apache Junction’s Parks and Recreation Department is extending its drive-in series into the fall. Park your ride on the dirt lot at the city’s rodeo grounds and kick back for an evening of family-oriented films. (There’s also the added value of picturesque views of the Superstition Mountains in the distance.)
You’ll be asked to park a short distance away from cars and can sit outside, provided you allow enough space between yourself and others. Audio will be played through loudspeakers. Gates open at 7 p.m. with films starting at 7:45 p.m. It’s $7 per vehicle to attend and you’re required to register in advance. Click here for more details (search for "drive-in movies").
Upcoming screenings include the following:
Saturday, September 12: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Saturday, September 26: Goonies