History Main / Drive-InTheater

16th Apr '13 2:37:56 PM StFan
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Drive-In_Theater.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:An iconic image from the drive-in's heyday. The movie is ''Film/TheTenCommandments''.]]

->''"If you're going to leave before seeing the next movie, ''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis You're Stupid]]!''"''
-->-- '''D. Edward Vogel''', owner of UsefulNotes/{{Baltimore}}'s ''[[http://bengies.com Bengie's Drive-In]]'', over PA system between films.

The drive-in theater has been a fixture of American culture since TheThirties. Every summer night (and all year round in warmer climates), millions of viewers pay the admission fee for themselves and their friends (at least the ones who aren't hiding in the trunk), get some snacks at the concession stand, and watch two (or more) movies projected on an outdoor screen from the privacy and comfort of their cars. Although drive-ins are most popular in the United States, they exist around the world. The drive-in is an enduring symbol of Americana whose continued existence defies some heavy odds.

Some history:

'''The Beginning:''' The drive-in theater was created in 1933 by chemical company magnate Richard M. Hollingshead Jr., who opened the first one in Pennsauken Township, [[{{Joisey}} New Jersey]]. It was popular enough that [[FollowTheLeader similar theaters began to open around the country]]. The drive-in became known as a place where a family could enjoy watching movies from the privacy of their car.

'''The Rise:''' Drive-ins really took off after WorldWarTwo; by their peak in the late [[TheFifties 1950s]] and early [[TheSixties 1960s]], there were more than 4,000 drive-ins all across America. While they continued to show mainstream Hollywood fare for families, they also became popular with teenagers, who would come to see the latest {{B Movie}}s (which usually dealt with ScienceFiction monsters, juvenile delinquents, and [[TheNewRockAndRoll early rock & roll]]). Of course, teens also took advantage of the privacy factor, which made drive-ins notorious as [[MakeOutPoint "passion pits"]]. In the popular imagination, drive-ins are still associated with these tropes derived from the 1950s. However, this heyday was TooGoodToLast...

'''The Fall:''' Drive-ins gradually declined for a number of reasons. The real estate they used became too valuable to "waste" on a business which could operate for only a few hours a day, a few months a year, and even then was subject to bad weather. Meanwhile, audiences began turning to cable TV and [[HomeVideoTropes home video]] for their movie fix, or hitting up the then-new concept of the multiplex theater. Some drive-ins responded by changing their emphasis from family fare to the [[DarkerAndEdgier increasingly violent and sexually explicit]] exploitation and [[HorrorTropes horror]] films that were, ironically, the successors to the 1950s {{B Movie}}s. (A few drive-ins even showed outright pornography.) Another common tactic was for drive-ins to add multiple screens. Some rented their land during the day to other businesses, such as flea markets--or managed such businesses themselves. Especially in urban areas, the vast expanses of land necessary for a drive-in became too expensive to maintain, and the land was sold for redevelopment because it just wasn't financially feasible to keep it open. Therefore, many drive-ins were forced to close between TheSeventies and the TurnOfTheMillennium. In many cases, the land was even turned over to build a shiny new multiplex theater. It seemed that the drive-in was headed for extinction—or was it?

'''The Resurgence:''' In the 2000s and 2010s, drive-ins have enjoyed a {{revival}}; a few new theaters have even opened in the last few years. Some of this is due to Baby Boomer nostalgia, although many current drive-in visitors are too young to remember the medium's heyday. Also, a "guerrilla drive-in" movement has developed to show films in parks, parking lots and other open urban spaces. Although it's unlikely that drive-ins will ever again be as numerous as they were during TheFifties, it seems that they're here to stay--at least for the foreseeable future.

During {{intermission}}s, drive-ins traditionally show [[AdvertisingTropes advertisements]] for the snack bar, as well as {{public service announcement}}s, ads for local merchants, safety messages and reminders of when the next movie is going to start ("10 minutes to showtime!"). These peppy, often animated ads have a following of their own; many are available on DVD compilations and in the Internet Archive's [[http://www.archive.org/details/DriveInMovieAds Moving Image Archive]].

Many drive-ins have playgrounds for child patrons to use before the show.

They've also changed as technology improved. Originally, Drive-ins had physical speakers, attached by wire to a post, which you removed from the post, rolled down your window, placed the speaker inside, then rolled up the window. This often caused people to forget they had the speaker attached, causing them to drive off, usually ripping the speaker off the post and possibly breaking the window.[[hottip:*:Most drive-ins ran a spot before, after, and between the features reminding you that your car was currently attached to a metal pole by a wire and telling you that if you did accidentally rip the speaker loose to bring it by the concession stand, usually in a humorous way trying very hard to imply "Hey, these things happen, we're not gonna be mad." Really, of course, the drive-in just wanted the speaker back ... reattaching it to the post is a lot cheaper than buying a new one.]] (Some very small ones just had a single, large speaker.) Today, drive ins have low-power broadcast transmitters, that send the audio to your car radio. Some drive-ins even have digital sound (usually the DTS format, since they are the only company that does installations for digital sound in drive-ins). This also means, if the car has good stereo, that the sound can be as good as that in a high-quality walk-in theater. Some drive-ins run AM as well as FM signals for the few people who don't have FM radio.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* The commercial for ''SoulCalibur'' that was part of the SegaDreamcast's "It's Thinking" ad campaign depicted video game characters at a drive-in, watching trailers for upcoming games. There was also a fan-made commercial for the cancelled Dreamcast port of ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life|1}}'' that was merely this same commercial but with ''Half-Life'' gameplay and box art sloppily pasted in. View the original ad [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tuKt9pxJzQ here]], and the ''Half-Life'' version [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDjFRH6hzA8 here]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:ComicBooks]]
* ''ComicBook/TalesOfTheStarlightDriveIn'', an award-winning graphic novel written by Michael Sangiacomo, is an anthology of stories set at a single drive-in over 53 years.
* An issue of ''HsuAndChan'' had the characters head off to a drive-in and getting caught up in a money making scheme of an old movie anniversary.
* In the first issue of the original ''[[Comicbook/TheTransformers The Transformers]]'' comic, the Autobots go to a drive-in theater during their first night on Earth, thinking that cars and trucks are sentient and that the drive-in is a church of some sort. It takes them a while to realize it's the little fleshy things ''inside'' the cars that are the ones watching the movie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/{{Targets}}'' ends with a sniper taking potshots at patrons at a drive-in theater. He is eventually faced down by Creator/BorisKarloff.
* ''Film/SpiesLikeUs'': A ''Franchise/StarWars''-style anti-missile system is hidden underneath an old run-down drive-in theater.
* ''Film/OurManFlint'': One of the fantasy make-out areas inside the GALAXY base is designed to look like a drive-in theater.
* A tornado attacks one during ''Film/{{Twister}}'', complete with ShoutOut to ''Film/TheShining'', matching the "Here's Johnny!" scene to the tornado crashing into said theater.
* ''Film/{{Grease}}'' had a couple of scenes at one, including the musical number "Sandy".
** The theatrical show it was based on had a song "Alone at a Drive-In" that directly reference a ''lot'' of the subtropes, including the (usually extremely cheesy) intermission advertisements and the fact that a lot of teenagers weren't really there to watch the movie, If You Know What I Mean. The song didn't make it to the film version, though you can hear a snippet of the music ''sans'' lyrics.
* There's an especially bad slasher film called ''Film/DriveInMassacre''.
** There's another DTV slasher film simply called ''Drive-In'', and its surprisingly decent.
* ''Film/{{Explorers}}'' has a memorable scene where the home-built spaceship flies slowly across the screen of a drive-in movie theater in the middle of a campy 1950's sci-fi schlockfest. A patron in one of the cars complains that the special effects look fake, thinking it's part of the movie, and claims to be able to see the string. Then the ship turns and zooms right over his head, and he spills his popcorn in shock.
* One was featured in a PlayedForLaughs scene in ''Film/BackToTheFuture Part 3''.
* Sean from ''Film/TheMonsterSquad'' lives near one, and he sometimes sits on his roof to catch free movies with his dad (don't remember if they had a radio with them, but they could hear the movie).
* In ''Film/PeeWeesBigAdventure'', Dotty insists early in the movie that Pee-wee take her to the drive-in on a date. It's not until the end that he actually does it, and also [[spoiler: runs into almost every other character he's met so far, all present in different vehicles and eating different classic movie snacks.]].
* One of the scenes in ''AirBuddies'' has the puppies go to a drive-in theatre and interrupt the showing of ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians''. A biker gang is there watching the movie, and when the puppies pass by them... they ''literally'' PetTheDog.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'': The characters are watching parodies of other Creator/{{Pixar}} films at the end of the movie; since they're all vehicles of some sort, [[CaptainObvious of course it's a drive-in theatre]].
* ''NorthvilleCemeteryMassacre'' includes a scene where a bunch of motorcycles pull up to a drive-in theater (specifically, the now-abandoned Jolly Roger Drive-In in the Detroit suburb of Taylor).
* In ''Film/RedDawn1984'', the DirtyCommunists turn this icon of American culture into a prison/reeducation camp.
* In ''ThunderboltAndLightfoot'', some of the participants in a just completed vault robbery hide in the (huge) trunk of a 1950s Chevy, which goes over to the nearby drive-in as a vehicle with a couple of regular customers. Unfortunately, the clothes of the men hiding are exposed hanging out of the trunk, which causes the manager to call the police.
* Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} describes the Australian feature ''[[DeadEndDriveIn Dead End Drive-In]]'' as "a 1986 science-fiction Ozploitation Film about a teenage couple who become trapped in a drive-in theater which is really a concentration camp for societal rejects who are fed a steady diet of junk food, rock and pop music, and movies."
* ''TheSugarlandExpress'' - the fugitive couple watch a Road Runner cartoon on the drive-in screen across from their motel room.
* StanleyKubrick's ''Literature/{{Lolita}}'' has Humbert sitting between Lolita and Mrs. Hayes at a drive-in showing the Hammer Film ''Film/TheCurseOfFrankenstein''. At a shocking moment hands grab other hands, with awkward consequences.
* The original ''Film/ThatDarnCat'' features a ChaseScene at a drive-in.
* ''Film/BloodRage'' begins at a drive-in, where the killer (then a young boy) claims his first victim by hacking up a random patron up with an axe that was lying around... for some reason.
* The killer gets chased to a drive-in by angry bikers in ''Film/NewYearsEvil''. He escapes by knifing one of them and hijacking a car.
* In ''Film/OneCrazySummer'', Hoops and Cookie go to a drive-in that apparently serves popcorn in bags large enough to fill up a fourth of a car (which [[BigEater Cookie]] easily finishes long before the movie ends). Later several characters smuggle in a projector and use it to advertise Cassandra's music in the corner of the screen during a movie.
* In ''Film/BackToTheFuture Part II'', Doc Brown has Marty run the Delorean Time Machine through the grounds of a drive-in to get it up to 88 MPH in order to go back in time, because in the 1880s that area was just sagebrush and empty grassland; when Marty rematerializes he won't end up crashing into a tree or a mountain.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* BillBryson was thrilled to discover a drive-in theater still operating in 1990s New Hampshire and brought his family out to experience it. Not only was the endeavour a disaster, but Bryson reasoned that this had actually always been the case.
* ''Literature/TheCiderHouseRules'' contains a fictional example of a drive-in theater being used as a MakeOutPoint.
* The second ''Snark Out Boys'' novel by DanielPinkwater deals with the secret history of the drive-in as a major plot point. The book claims that the original "drive-in" was a stage show in Romania in the 1800s, which the peasants hated so much that they burned it down and drove the purveyor out of the country. The climax of the book is at the world's largest drive-in theater, founded by a descendant of the original inventor. [[BrickJoke A Romanian pyromaniac shows up and sets the entire lot on fire.]]
* This might be how [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]], who makes pop culture references all the time despite being WalkingTechbane, manages see most movies. However, it's possible that he just goes to normal movie theaters and is careful to sit far from the projector.
* A character is forced to watch the deaths of his friends in a decayed drive-in in ''FreddyKruegersSevenSweetestDreams'' story "Asleep at the Wheel".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:LiveActionTV]]
* One of these appeared in an episode of ''TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete'' where older Pete and [[spoiler:Ellen]] go on a date.
* The bad guys on ''{{Chuck}}'' had their base in an old drive-in.
* In an early episode of ''Series/{{That 70s Show}}'' Eric, Donna, Kelso and Jackie go to the local drive-in to watch ''Film/TheOmen'' - well, actually to make out.
* In ''Series/GreenAcres'', Oliver and Lisa go to a drive-in, while in the pick-up truck next to them, a couple are busy [[MakeOutKids making out with extreme passion]]. Oliver tries to pull the speaker off of the post, but it's too short, it flies back, smashing the driver's side window of that same vehicle. The couple is so busy with heavy necking that ''they never even notice''.
* Series/{{Angel}} takes Connor to a drive-in in an attempt at father-son bonding.
* In the "Julie" segment of the MadeForTV AnthologyFilm ''Film/TrilogyOfTerror'', a student who has [[HotForTeacher an unhealthy obsession with his teacher]] takes her on a date to a drive-in, knocks her out with [[SlippingAMickey a spiked drink]], then takes [[{{Blackmail}} compromising photos]] of her while she's unconscious.
* One of the last episodes of ''Series/ColdCase'' began with a guy getting sniped in a drive-in.
* The ''Series/MissionImpossible'' episode "The Psychic" begins with Briggs receiving his assignment at a drive-in.
* ''Series/TheBradyBunch'' had two episodes where Greg took his date to a drive-in with hilarious results. In one, he was forced to take Bobby along with him after losing a bet. In the other, Bobby and Peter accidentally left their pet frogs in the car.
* ''Series/TheFactsOfLife'' had an episode that took place at the closing night of a drive-in.
* On an episode of ''Series/{{Cheers}}'', Cliff, Norm, Frasier and Woody go to a Franchise/{{Godzilla"" marathon at a drive-in.
* An episode of ''Series/FamilyMatters'' took place at a drive-in and focused on the dates of Laura, Steve, and Waldo. The latter of which didn't even come in a car, rather Maxine and he just walk in with folding chairs and coolers.
* In "Last Whiff of Summer", the two-part fourth-season premiere of ''TheMiddle'', the Hecks go to a drive-in.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* "There's an [[Music/ElvisPresley Elvis]] movie on the [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment marquee sign]]" is the opening line to Hal Ketchum's "Small Town Saturday Night".
* "Moonlight Drive-In" by Turner Nichols recalls a former lover and how they would make out at the drive-in.
* In "Everything's Changed" by Lonestar, the narrator laments all of the things that have changed in his hometown — but the one thing that stays the same is how much he still loves her. One of the things that's changed is "That old drive-in is a new Wal-Mart".
* Post-punk band At the Drive-In, who take their name from a Poison lyric.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VideoGames]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Vigilante 8}}: 2nd Offense'' had a level set in a desert which featured one of these; driving through the screen would get you a power-up and (depending on the character) is necessary to complete the level.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' has a drive-in theater. [[{{Tearjerker}} One of the cars has two skeletons embracing on the hood.]]
** There are a few more Drive-Ins dotted about the Mojave Wasteland in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas''.
* One of the fields in ''[[VideoGame/BackyardSports Backyard Baseball]]'' is Starlite Orchards Drive-In.
* One of the stages in the first ''DestroyAllHumans'' has a drive-in theater.
** It even played a full length movie during one mission.
* One of the places that could be attacked by the giant ants in ''ItCameFromTheDesert'' was the local drive-in.
* An abandoned drive-in is present in the ''Stilwater'' of ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'', just north of Stilwater University, and used as part of one of the [[ProfessionalKiller Hitman]] Activities. Complete with boarded up building, old speakers on poles, rusted up cars, and [[{{Hobos}} homeless bums]]!
* The multiplayer map "Drive-In" from ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps'' is set in an [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin abandoned drive-in]]. Besides having an arcade with [[EasterEgg Call of Duty: World At War]] games, the old movie screen has a chunk torn out of it to make an effective sniping post.
* One of the levels in ''TwistedMetalBlack'' is a drive-in theatre. A well placed missile can destroy the screen.
* One of the 3x3-tile commercial buildings in ''SimCity 2000'' is a drive-in theater, and one of the low-value commercial buildings in ''SimCity 3000'' is a flea market that looks like a run-down drive-in theater.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* The syndicated opening and closing credits of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'' feature the "modern stone age family" visiting a drive-in theater.
* A drive-in also appears in ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheReluctantWerewolf''.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Marge and Homer double-date with Grandpa and his girlfriend, Zelda, to a drive-in to see ''Dude, Where's My Virginity?''. Grandpa and Zelda start making out in the front seat.
** In another episode, Apu reveals that he sometimes gets up on the roof of the Kwik-E-Mart so he can watch movies at the drive in across the street for free.
*** In yet another, Homer recalls having fun at the local drive-in as a lad. Flashback to the car shaking and squeaking rhythmically. Cut to interior to see...Homer surrounded by his favorite treats, reaching back and forth to grab food and shove it in his mouth--that's what causes the shaking.
**** In another, several Springfield Elementary students sneak into one [[spoiler: after a sunset curfew is placed on all children in Springfield,]] and see a 1950s horror film entitled ''The Bloodening'', where [[spoiler: a group of children are able to read the minds of adults.]] During the film, [[spoiler: the police catch them and force them to clean a giant animatronic billboard set up earlier in the episode, giving them a motivation for revenge, which results in the creation of a radio program titled ''We Know All Your Secrets'', where they reveal secrets of Springfield's adults in a style similar to the film.]]
* The Jersey Drive-In is the battleground for the penultimate episode of ''WesternAnimation/MegasXLR'' in "Universal Remote". It's mentioned that Coop destroyed all the other drive-ins in Jersey. They also sneak Goat in the trunk of Megas because sneaking people into the drive-through is a "time-honored tradition".
* The ''[[Literature/TheMagicSchoolBus Magic School Bus]]'' episode "Spins a Web" shows the students seen into a Movie Within a Show on a drive-in screen in which they soon find themselves. As with most shows to feature a drive-in that isn't a period piece, a BMovie is being shown.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' episode "Drive Insane" features the Warners crashing Dr. Scratchansniff's date at a drive-in theater. There's a joke featuring them bouncing around in the car that will go over the heads of kids [[ParentalBonus but will mean plenty to adults]].
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'' episode "Future Scope" features a drive-in movie theater, but this is likely due to the [[DaysOfFuturePast Retro-Future]] feel of the series.
* There was a one-hour ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' special, "Runaway Reptar", that was partly set at a drive-in theater.
* The ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' episode "Good Times, Bat Times" begins at a drive-in theater.
* Part of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Pac-Man}}'' episode "Pacula" took place at a drive-in theater.
* The ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' movie has a parody of snack bar advertisements in which friendly, anthropomorphic snack food mascots are replaced by the metal band Mastodon.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TwoStupidDogs'' episode "At the Drive-In". Watching the movie, Little Dog comments on how bad the movie is and wonders why people would go there. Cue the bouncing and rocking cars.
* On ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButthead'', the two go to a drive-in, but since they naturally don't have a car, they wander around. They take a picture of a hideous she-beast having sex in her van, and spend the rest of the episode fleeing her.
** Another ''B&B'' example: In the {{revival}} episode "Tech Support", the boys go to the site of an abandoned drive-in ("Abandoned drive-ins kick ass!"), only to find an office building in its place.
* The credits of ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyBravo'' were "projected" onto a drive-in screen.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/CasperTheFriendlyGhost Casper's Haunted Christmas]]'' begins with the Ghostly Trio wreaking havoc at a drive-in.
* Synergy, the supercomputer of Jerrica "WesternAnimation/{{Jem}}" Benton and her family, was found at the Starlight Drive-In.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Ruby-Spears Superman}}'' episode "Bonechill", the titular villain makes the monsters from a BMovie shown at a drive-in come to life.
* Finn and Marceline crash one of these in at end of the the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Go With Me".
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad!'' had Roger gaining some old 80's movies and a pack of cars mistakenly sent to the Smith house. Steve, in another attempt to get a girl, has Roger play the movies on the side of the neighboring house while Steve, his friends, and the current girl of his attention and her friends watch from the cars as a makeshift drive in.
* Was the focus of an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheReplacements'' when Riley starts working there but finds the manager too strict and has him replaced with a film director [[spoiler: who promptly gets the place closed down due to horrible management.]]
[[/folder]]
----
->''Thank you for reading the Drive-In Theater page! Wiki/TVTropes.org appreciates your patronage. Please remember to replace the speaker on the post when you leave the theater, and have a pleasant evening.''
----

to:

[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Drive-In_Theater.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:An iconic image from the drive-in's heyday. The movie is ''Film/TheTenCommandments''.]]

->''"If you're going to leave before seeing the next movie, ''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis You're Stupid]]!''"''
-->-- '''D. Edward Vogel''', owner of UsefulNotes/{{Baltimore}}'s ''[[http://bengies.com Bengie's Drive-In]]'', over PA system between films.

The drive-in theater has been a fixture of American culture since TheThirties. Every summer night (and all year round in warmer climates), millions of viewers pay the admission fee for themselves and their friends (at least the ones who aren't hiding in the trunk), get some snacks at the concession stand, and watch two (or more) movies projected on an outdoor screen from the privacy and comfort of their cars. Although drive-ins are most popular in the United States, they exist around the world. The drive-in is an enduring symbol of Americana whose continued existence defies some heavy odds.

Some history:

'''The Beginning:''' The drive-in theater was created in 1933 by chemical company magnate Richard M. Hollingshead Jr., who opened the first one in Pennsauken Township, [[{{Joisey}} New Jersey]]. It was popular enough that [[FollowTheLeader similar theaters began to open around the country]]. The drive-in became known as a place where a family could enjoy watching movies from the privacy of their car.

'''The Rise:''' Drive-ins really took off after WorldWarTwo; by their peak in the late [[TheFifties 1950s]] and early [[TheSixties 1960s]], there were more than 4,000 drive-ins all across America. While they continued to show mainstream Hollywood fare for families, they also became popular with teenagers, who would come to see the latest {{B Movie}}s (which usually dealt with ScienceFiction monsters, juvenile delinquents, and [[TheNewRockAndRoll early rock & roll]]). Of course, teens also took advantage of the privacy factor, which made drive-ins notorious as [[MakeOutPoint "passion pits"]]. In the popular imagination, drive-ins are still associated with these tropes derived from the 1950s. However, this heyday was TooGoodToLast...

'''The Fall:''' Drive-ins gradually declined for a number of reasons. The real estate they used became too valuable to "waste" on a business which could operate for only a few hours a day, a few months a year, and even then was subject to bad weather. Meanwhile, audiences began turning to cable TV and [[HomeVideoTropes home video]] for their movie fix, or hitting up the then-new concept of the multiplex theater. Some drive-ins responded by changing their emphasis from family fare to the [[DarkerAndEdgier increasingly violent and sexually explicit]] exploitation and [[HorrorTropes horror]] films that were, ironically, the successors to the 1950s {{B Movie}}s. (A few drive-ins even showed outright pornography.) Another common tactic was for drive-ins to add multiple screens. Some rented their land during the day to other businesses, such as flea markets--or managed such businesses themselves. Especially in urban areas, the vast expanses of land necessary for a drive-in became too expensive to maintain, and the land was sold for redevelopment because it just wasn't financially feasible to keep it open. Therefore, many drive-ins were forced to close between TheSeventies and the TurnOfTheMillennium. In many cases, the land was even turned over to build a shiny new multiplex theater. It seemed that the drive-in was headed for extinction—or was it?

'''The Resurgence:''' In the 2000s and 2010s, drive-ins have enjoyed a {{revival}}; a few new theaters have even opened in the last few years. Some of this is due to Baby Boomer nostalgia, although many current drive-in visitors are too young to remember the medium's heyday. Also, a "guerrilla drive-in" movement has developed to show films in parks, parking lots and other open urban spaces. Although it's unlikely that drive-ins will ever again be as numerous as they were during TheFifties, it seems that they're here to stay--at least for the foreseeable future.

During {{intermission}}s, drive-ins traditionally show [[AdvertisingTropes advertisements]] for the snack bar, as well as {{public service announcement}}s, ads for local merchants, safety messages and reminders of when the next movie is going to start ("10 minutes to showtime!"). These peppy, often animated ads have a following of their own; many are available on DVD compilations and in the Internet Archive's [[http://www.archive.org/details/DriveInMovieAds Moving Image Archive]].

Many drive-ins have playgrounds for child patrons to use before the show.

They've also changed as technology improved. Originally, Drive-ins had physical speakers, attached by wire to a post, which you removed from the post, rolled down your window, placed the speaker inside, then rolled up the window. This often caused people to forget they had the speaker attached, causing them to drive off, usually ripping the speaker off the post and possibly breaking the window.[[hottip:*:Most drive-ins ran a spot before, after, and between the features reminding you that your car was currently attached to a metal pole by a wire and telling you that if you did accidentally rip the speaker loose to bring it by the concession stand, usually in a humorous way trying very hard to imply "Hey, these things happen, we're not gonna be mad." Really, of course, the drive-in just wanted the speaker back ... reattaching it to the post is a lot cheaper than buying a new one.]] (Some very small ones just had a single, large speaker.) Today, drive ins have low-power broadcast transmitters, that send the audio to your car radio. Some drive-ins even have digital sound (usually the DTS format, since they are the only company that does installations for digital sound in drive-ins). This also means, if the car has good stereo, that the sound can be as good as that in a high-quality walk-in theater. Some drive-ins run AM as well as FM signals for the few people who don't have FM radio.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* The commercial for ''SoulCalibur'' that was part of the SegaDreamcast's "It's Thinking" ad campaign depicted video game characters at a drive-in, watching trailers for upcoming games. There was also a fan-made commercial for the cancelled Dreamcast port of ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life|1}}'' that was merely this same commercial but with ''Half-Life'' gameplay and box art sloppily pasted in. View the original ad [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tuKt9pxJzQ here]], and the ''Half-Life'' version [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDjFRH6hzA8 here]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:ComicBooks]]
* ''ComicBook/TalesOfTheStarlightDriveIn'', an award-winning graphic novel written by Michael Sangiacomo, is an anthology of stories set at a single drive-in over 53 years.
* An issue of ''HsuAndChan'' had the characters head off to a drive-in and getting caught up in a money making scheme of an old movie anniversary.
* In the first issue of the original ''[[Comicbook/TheTransformers The Transformers]]'' comic, the Autobots go to a drive-in theater during their first night on Earth, thinking that cars and trucks are sentient and that the drive-in is a church of some sort. It takes them a while to realize it's the little fleshy things ''inside'' the cars that are the ones watching the movie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/{{Targets}}'' ends with a sniper taking potshots at patrons at a drive-in theater. He is eventually faced down by Creator/BorisKarloff.
* ''Film/SpiesLikeUs'': A ''Franchise/StarWars''-style anti-missile system is hidden underneath an old run-down drive-in theater.
* ''Film/OurManFlint'': One of the fantasy make-out areas inside the GALAXY base is designed to look like a drive-in theater.
* A tornado attacks one during ''Film/{{Twister}}'', complete with ShoutOut to ''Film/TheShining'', matching the "Here's Johnny!" scene to the tornado crashing into said theater.
* ''Film/{{Grease}}'' had a couple of scenes at one, including the musical number "Sandy".
** The theatrical show it was based on had a song "Alone at a Drive-In" that directly reference a ''lot'' of the subtropes, including the (usually extremely cheesy) intermission advertisements and the fact that a lot of teenagers weren't really there to watch the movie, If You Know What I Mean. The song didn't make it to the film version, though you can hear a snippet of the music ''sans'' lyrics.
* There's an especially bad slasher film called ''Film/DriveInMassacre''.
** There's another DTV slasher film simply called ''Drive-In'', and its surprisingly decent.
* ''Film/{{Explorers}}'' has a memorable scene where the home-built spaceship flies slowly across the screen of a drive-in movie theater in the middle of a campy 1950's sci-fi schlockfest. A patron in one of the cars complains that the special effects look fake, thinking it's part of the movie, and claims to be able to see the string. Then the ship turns and zooms right over his head, and he spills his popcorn in shock.
* One was featured in a PlayedForLaughs scene in ''Film/BackToTheFuture Part 3''.
* Sean from ''Film/TheMonsterSquad'' lives near one, and he sometimes sits on his roof to catch free movies with his dad (don't remember if they had a radio with them, but they could hear the movie).
* In ''Film/PeeWeesBigAdventure'', Dotty insists early in the movie that Pee-wee take her to the drive-in on a date. It's not until the end that he actually does it, and also [[spoiler: runs into almost every other character he's met so far, all present in different vehicles and eating different classic movie snacks.]].
* One of the scenes in ''AirBuddies'' has the puppies go to a drive-in theatre and interrupt the showing of ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians''. A biker gang is there watching the movie, and when the puppies pass by them... they ''literally'' PetTheDog.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'': The characters are watching parodies of other Creator/{{Pixar}} films at the end of the movie; since they're all vehicles of some sort, [[CaptainObvious of course it's a drive-in theatre]].
* ''NorthvilleCemeteryMassacre'' includes a scene where a bunch of motorcycles pull up to a drive-in theater (specifically, the now-abandoned Jolly Roger Drive-In in the Detroit suburb of Taylor).
* In ''Film/RedDawn1984'', the DirtyCommunists turn this icon of American culture into a prison/reeducation camp.
* In ''ThunderboltAndLightfoot'', some of the participants in a just completed vault robbery hide in the (huge) trunk of a 1950s Chevy, which goes over to the nearby drive-in as a vehicle with a couple of regular customers. Unfortunately, the clothes of the men hiding are exposed hanging out of the trunk, which causes the manager to call the police.
* Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} describes the Australian feature ''[[DeadEndDriveIn Dead End Drive-In]]'' as "a 1986 science-fiction Ozploitation Film about a teenage couple who become trapped in a drive-in theater which is really a concentration camp for societal rejects who are fed a steady diet of junk food, rock and pop music, and movies."
* ''TheSugarlandExpress'' - the fugitive couple watch a Road Runner cartoon on the drive-in screen across from their motel room.
* StanleyKubrick's ''Literature/{{Lolita}}'' has Humbert sitting between Lolita and Mrs. Hayes at a drive-in showing the Hammer Film ''Film/TheCurseOfFrankenstein''. At a shocking moment hands grab other hands, with awkward consequences.
* The original ''Film/ThatDarnCat'' features a ChaseScene at a drive-in.
* ''Film/BloodRage'' begins at a drive-in, where the killer (then a young boy) claims his first victim by hacking up a random patron up with an axe that was lying around... for some reason.
* The killer gets chased to a drive-in by angry bikers in ''Film/NewYearsEvil''. He escapes by knifing one of them and hijacking a car.
* In ''Film/OneCrazySummer'', Hoops and Cookie go to a drive-in that apparently serves popcorn in bags large enough to fill up a fourth of a car (which [[BigEater Cookie]] easily finishes long before the movie ends). Later several characters smuggle in a projector and use it to advertise Cassandra's music in the corner of the screen during a movie.
* In ''Film/BackToTheFuture Part II'', Doc Brown has Marty run the Delorean Time Machine through the grounds of a drive-in to get it up to 88 MPH in order to go back in time, because in the 1880s that area was just sagebrush and empty grassland; when Marty rematerializes he won't end up crashing into a tree or a mountain.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* BillBryson was thrilled to discover a drive-in theater still operating in 1990s New Hampshire and brought his family out to experience it. Not only was the endeavour a disaster, but Bryson reasoned that this had actually always been the case.
* ''Literature/TheCiderHouseRules'' contains a fictional example of a drive-in theater being used as a MakeOutPoint.
* The second ''Snark Out Boys'' novel by DanielPinkwater deals with the secret history of the drive-in as a major plot point. The book claims that the original "drive-in" was a stage show in Romania in the 1800s, which the peasants hated so much that they burned it down and drove the purveyor out of the country. The climax of the book is at the world's largest drive-in theater, founded by a descendant of the original inventor. [[BrickJoke A Romanian pyromaniac shows up and sets the entire lot on fire.]]
* This might be how [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]], who makes pop culture references all the time despite being WalkingTechbane, manages see most movies. However, it's possible that he just goes to normal movie theaters and is careful to sit far from the projector.
* A character is forced to watch the deaths of his friends in a decayed drive-in in ''FreddyKruegersSevenSweetestDreams'' story "Asleep at the Wheel".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:LiveActionTV]]
* One of these appeared in an episode of ''TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete'' where older Pete and [[spoiler:Ellen]] go on a date.
* The bad guys on ''{{Chuck}}'' had their base in an old drive-in.
* In an early episode of ''Series/{{That 70s Show}}'' Eric, Donna, Kelso and Jackie go to the local drive-in to watch ''Film/TheOmen'' - well, actually to make out.
* In ''Series/GreenAcres'', Oliver and Lisa go to a drive-in, while in the pick-up truck next to them, a couple are busy [[MakeOutKids making out with extreme passion]]. Oliver tries to pull the speaker off of the post, but it's too short, it flies back, smashing the driver's side window of that same vehicle. The couple is so busy with heavy necking that ''they never even notice''.
* Series/{{Angel}} takes Connor to a drive-in in an attempt at father-son bonding.
* In the "Julie" segment of the MadeForTV AnthologyFilm ''Film/TrilogyOfTerror'', a student who has [[HotForTeacher an unhealthy obsession with his teacher]] takes her on a date to a drive-in, knocks her out with [[SlippingAMickey a spiked drink]], then takes [[{{Blackmail}} compromising photos]] of her while she's unconscious.
* One of the last episodes of ''Series/ColdCase'' began with a guy getting sniped in a drive-in.
* The ''Series/MissionImpossible'' episode "The Psychic" begins with Briggs receiving his assignment at a drive-in.
* ''Series/TheBradyBunch'' had two episodes where Greg took his date to a drive-in with hilarious results. In one, he was forced to take Bobby along with him after losing a bet. In the other, Bobby and Peter accidentally left their pet frogs in the car.
* ''Series/TheFactsOfLife'' had an episode that took place at the closing night of a drive-in.
* On an episode of ''Series/{{Cheers}}'', Cliff, Norm, Frasier and Woody go to a Franchise/{{Godzilla"" marathon at a drive-in.
* An episode of ''Series/FamilyMatters'' took place at a drive-in and focused on the dates of Laura, Steve, and Waldo. The latter of which didn't even come in a car, rather Maxine and he just walk in with folding chairs and coolers.
* In "Last Whiff of Summer", the two-part fourth-season premiere of ''TheMiddle'', the Hecks go to a drive-in.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* "There's an [[Music/ElvisPresley Elvis]] movie on the [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment marquee sign]]" is the opening line to Hal Ketchum's "Small Town Saturday Night".
* "Moonlight Drive-In" by Turner Nichols recalls a former lover and how they would make out at the drive-in.
* In "Everything's Changed" by Lonestar, the narrator laments all of the things that have changed in his hometown — but the one thing that stays the same is how much he still loves her. One of the things that's changed is "That old drive-in is a new Wal-Mart".
* Post-punk band At the Drive-In, who take their name from a Poison lyric.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VideoGames]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Vigilante 8}}: 2nd Offense'' had a level set in a desert which featured one of these; driving through the screen would get you a power-up and (depending on the character) is necessary to complete the level.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' has a drive-in theater. [[{{Tearjerker}} One of the cars has two skeletons embracing on the hood.]]
** There are a few more Drive-Ins dotted about the Mojave Wasteland in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas''.
* One of the fields in ''[[VideoGame/BackyardSports Backyard Baseball]]'' is Starlite Orchards Drive-In.
* One of the stages in the first ''DestroyAllHumans'' has a drive-in theater.
** It even played a full length movie during one mission.
* One of the places that could be attacked by the giant ants in ''ItCameFromTheDesert'' was the local drive-in.
* An abandoned drive-in is present in the ''Stilwater'' of ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'', just north of Stilwater University, and used as part of one of the [[ProfessionalKiller Hitman]] Activities. Complete with boarded up building, old speakers on poles, rusted up cars, and [[{{Hobos}} homeless bums]]!
* The multiplayer map "Drive-In" from ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps'' is set in an [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin abandoned drive-in]]. Besides having an arcade with [[EasterEgg Call of Duty: World At War]] games, the old movie screen has a chunk torn out of it to make an effective sniping post.
* One of the levels in ''TwistedMetalBlack'' is a drive-in theatre. A well placed missile can destroy the screen.
* One of the 3x3-tile commercial buildings in ''SimCity 2000'' is a drive-in theater, and one of the low-value commercial buildings in ''SimCity 3000'' is a flea market that looks like a run-down drive-in theater.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* The syndicated opening and closing credits of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'' feature the "modern stone age family" visiting a drive-in theater.
* A drive-in also appears in ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheReluctantWerewolf''.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Marge and Homer double-date with Grandpa and his girlfriend, Zelda, to a drive-in to see ''Dude, Where's My Virginity?''. Grandpa and Zelda start making out in the front seat.
** In another episode, Apu reveals that he sometimes gets up on the roof of the Kwik-E-Mart so he can watch movies at the drive in across the street for free.
*** In yet another, Homer recalls having fun at the local drive-in as a lad. Flashback to the car shaking and squeaking rhythmically. Cut to interior to see...Homer surrounded by his favorite treats, reaching back and forth to grab food and shove it in his mouth--that's what causes the shaking.
**** In another, several Springfield Elementary students sneak into one [[spoiler: after a sunset curfew is placed on all children in Springfield,]] and see a 1950s horror film entitled ''The Bloodening'', where [[spoiler: a group of children are able to read the minds of adults.]] During the film, [[spoiler: the police catch them and force them to clean a giant animatronic billboard set up earlier in the episode, giving them a motivation for revenge, which results in the creation of a radio program titled ''We Know All Your Secrets'', where they reveal secrets of Springfield's adults in a style similar to the film.]]
* The Jersey Drive-In is the battleground for the penultimate episode of ''WesternAnimation/MegasXLR'' in "Universal Remote". It's mentioned that Coop destroyed all the other drive-ins in Jersey. They also sneak Goat in the trunk of Megas because sneaking people into the drive-through is a "time-honored tradition".
* The ''[[Literature/TheMagicSchoolBus Magic School Bus]]'' episode "Spins a Web" shows the students seen into a Movie Within a Show on a drive-in screen in which they soon find themselves. As with most shows to feature a drive-in that isn't a period piece, a BMovie is being shown.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' episode "Drive Insane" features the Warners crashing Dr. Scratchansniff's date at a drive-in theater. There's a joke featuring them bouncing around in the car that will go over the heads of kids [[ParentalBonus but will mean plenty to adults]].
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'' episode "Future Scope" features a drive-in movie theater, but this is likely due to the [[DaysOfFuturePast Retro-Future]] feel of the series.
* There was a one-hour ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' special, "Runaway Reptar", that was partly set at a drive-in theater.
* The ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' episode "Good Times, Bat Times" begins at a drive-in theater.
* Part of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Pac-Man}}'' episode "Pacula" took place at a drive-in theater.
* The ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' movie has a parody of snack bar advertisements in which friendly, anthropomorphic snack food mascots are replaced by the metal band Mastodon.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TwoStupidDogs'' episode "At the Drive-In". Watching the movie, Little Dog comments on how bad the movie is and wonders why people would go there. Cue the bouncing and rocking cars.
* On ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButthead'', the two go to a drive-in, but since they naturally don't have a car, they wander around. They take a picture of a hideous she-beast having sex in her van, and spend the rest of the episode fleeing her.
** Another ''B&B'' example: In the {{revival}} episode "Tech Support", the boys go to the site of an abandoned drive-in ("Abandoned drive-ins kick ass!"), only to find an office building in its place.
* The credits of ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyBravo'' were "projected" onto a drive-in screen.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/CasperTheFriendlyGhost Casper's Haunted Christmas]]'' begins with the Ghostly Trio wreaking havoc at a drive-in.
* Synergy, the supercomputer of Jerrica "WesternAnimation/{{Jem}}" Benton and her family, was found at the Starlight Drive-In.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Ruby-Spears Superman}}'' episode "Bonechill", the titular villain makes the monsters from a BMovie shown at a drive-in come to life.
* Finn and Marceline crash one of these in at end of the the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Go With Me".
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad!'' had Roger gaining some old 80's movies and a pack of cars mistakenly sent to the Smith house. Steve, in another attempt to get a girl, has Roger play the movies on the side of the neighboring house while Steve, his friends, and the current girl of his attention and her friends watch from the cars as a makeshift drive in.
* Was the focus of an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheReplacements'' when Riley starts working there but finds the manager too strict and has him replaced with a film director [[spoiler: who promptly gets the place closed down due to horrible management.]]
[[/folder]]
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->''Thank you for reading the Drive-In Theater page! Wiki/TVTropes.org appreciates your patronage. Please remember to replace the speaker on the post when you leave the theater, and have a pleasant evening.''
----
[[redirect:DriveInTheater]]
7th Apr '13 7:07:34 PM JIKTV
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* "There's an {{Elvis}} movie on the [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment marquee sign]]" is the opening line to Hal Ketchum's "Small Town Saturday Night".

to:

* "There's an {{Elvis}} [[Music/ElvisPresley Elvis]] movie on the [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment marquee sign]]" is the opening line to Hal Ketchum's "Small Town Saturday Night".
31st Mar '13 12:21:06 PM TVRulezAgain
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[[caption-width-right:350:An iconic image from the drive-in's heyday. The movie is ''TheTenCommandments''.]]

to:

[[caption-width-right:350:An iconic image from the drive-in's heyday. The movie is ''TheTenCommandments''.''Film/TheTenCommandments''.]]
21st Feb '13 4:41:04 PM Xtifr
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* ''TheCiderHouseRules'' contains a fictional example of a drive-in theater being used as a MakeOutPoint.

to:

* ''TheCiderHouseRules'' ''Literature/TheCiderHouseRules'' contains a fictional example of a drive-in theater being used as a MakeOutPoint.
13th Jan '13 10:32:01 PM samhuddy
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Added DiffLines:

* BillBryson was thrilled to discover a drive-in theater still operating in 1990s New Hampshire and brought his family out to experience it. Not only was the endeavour a disaster, but Bryson reasoned that this had actually always been the case.
1st Dec '12 7:50:46 PM Gxm110
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Added DiffLines:

****In another, several Springfield Elementary students sneak into one [[spoiler: after a sunset curfew is placed on all children in Springfield,]] and see a 1950s horror film entitled ''The Bloodening'', where [[spoiler: a group of children are able to read the minds of adults.]] During the film, [[spoiler: the police catch them and force them to clean a giant animatronic billboard set up earlier in the episode, giving them a motivation for revenge, which results in the creation of a radio program titled ''We Know All Your Secrets'', where they reveal secrets of Springfield's adults in a style similar to the film.]]
29th Nov '12 6:32:50 AM erforce
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* StanleyKubrick's ''Literature/{{Lolita}}'' has Humbert sitting between Lolita and Mrs. Hayes at a drive-in showing the Hammer Film ''Film/{{Frankenstein}}''. At a shocking moment hands grab other hands, with awkward consequences.

to:

* StanleyKubrick's ''Literature/{{Lolita}}'' has Humbert sitting between Lolita and Mrs. Hayes at a drive-in showing the Hammer Film ''Film/{{Frankenstein}}''.''Film/TheCurseOfFrankenstein''. At a shocking moment hands grab other hands, with awkward consequences.
28th Nov '12 5:44:04 PM MarkLungo
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* ''Film/{{Targets}}'' ends with a sniper taking potshots at patrons at a drive-in theater. He is eventually faced down by BorisKarloff.
* ''Film/SpiesLikeUs'': A ''StarWars''-style anti-missile system is hidden underneath an old run-down drive-in theater.
* ''OurManFlint'': One of the fantasy make-out areas inside the GALAXY base is designed to look like a drive-in theater.

to:

* ''Film/{{Targets}}'' ends with a sniper taking potshots at patrons at a drive-in theater. He is eventually faced down by BorisKarloff.
Creator/BorisKarloff.
* ''Film/SpiesLikeUs'': A ''StarWars''-style ''Franchise/StarWars''-style anti-missile system is hidden underneath an old run-down drive-in theater.
* ''OurManFlint'': ''Film/OurManFlint'': One of the fantasy make-out areas inside the GALAXY base is designed to look like a drive-in theater.



* In an early episode of ''That/{{That 70s Show}}'' Eric, Donna, Kelso and Jackie go to the local drive-in to watch ''Film/TheOmen'' - well, actually to make out.

to:

* In an early episode of ''That/{{That ''Series/{{That 70s Show}}'' Eric, Donna, Kelso and Jackie go to the local drive-in to watch ''Film/TheOmen'' - well, actually to make out.
28th Nov '12 9:20:39 AM erforce
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* ''SpiesLikeUs'': A ''StarWars''-style anti-missile system is hidden underneath an old run-down drive-in theater.

to:

* ''SpiesLikeUs'': ''Film/SpiesLikeUs'': A ''StarWars''-style anti-missile system is hidden underneath an old run-down drive-in theater.



* A tornado attacks one during ''{{Twister}}'', complete with ShoutOut to ''TheShining'', matching the "Here's Johnny!" scene to the tornado crashing into said theater.
* ''{{Grease}}'' had a couple of scenes at one, including the musical number "Sandy".

to:

* A tornado attacks one during ''{{Twister}}'', ''Film/{{Twister}}'', complete with ShoutOut to ''TheShining'', ''Film/TheShining'', matching the "Here's Johnny!" scene to the tornado crashing into said theater.
* ''{{Grease}}'' ''Film/{{Grease}}'' had a couple of scenes at one, including the musical number "Sandy".
21st Nov '12 7:33:28 AM erforce
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* In ''Film/RedDawn'', the DirtyCommunists turn this icon of American culture into a prison/reeducation camp.

to:

* In ''Film/RedDawn'', ''Film/RedDawn1984'', the DirtyCommunists turn this icon of American culture into a prison/reeducation camp.
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