Let’s All Go to the Movies
without even leaving our cars
Photo by kc kratt
Missing movie night dates with your honey or friends? With social distancing requirements in place, it will likely be a while before movie theaters open. But you can still take in the latest summer flick (or old favorite) from the comfort and safety of your own car. Drive-ins in our area have full summer season of outdoor films planned to satisfy any cinephile.
South 4th Street, Lewiston
As a safe alternative to large gatherings, Artpark is presenting a lineup of drive-in films this summer. Projected on LED screens, twenty films will be shown over the course of the summer on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Tuesday evenings feature films made for music fans, focusing on concert films, biopics, and other music-related content. Thursday night films are for general audiences and families.
Two screens are set up in parking Lot D, the large lot nearest South 4th Street, and can accommodate up to 200 cars; one VIP screen will be set up in the Painted Parking Lot accommodating up to fifty cars. Audio for the films is transmitted via car FM radio.
The cost is $25 per car, which includes $8 admission and a $17 concession credit. Tickets are sold in advance only, please visit artpark.net or tickets.com to purchase online. Service fees apply for online orders. Purchase by phone Monday through Friday 10 a.m.–4 p.m., or one hour before movie showtime. (Tickets subject to availability.) Gates open one hour prior to showtime.
Artpark spaces parked vehicles six feet apart. In order to ensure safety of all patrons and employees, Artpark and New York State Park’s staff monitor the parking lots to ensure vehicles are spaced properly and that patrons adhere to all safety protocols in place. Patrons are permitted to sit outside of their vehicles and must provide their own seating. All patrons must wear a face mask whenever they are outside their vehicles.
The Drive-In Film Series at Artpark supported by M&T Bank is sponsored by The Reid Group, Schmitt Sales and In honor of Niagara and Erie County Front Line Workers.
More movies are being announced, so check artpark.net for details.
6655 South Transit Road, Lockport
This longtime favorite summer venue has extended its season well into the fall in recent years, thanks to global warming. Movies tend to include a nice mix of blockbusters, classics, horror, and kid flicks.
There are some changes this year due to COVID-19 restrictions from state and local health officials. For instance, all main feature ticketing will be through internet pre-sale only.
Bonus feature tickets may be purchased at the ticket window no earlier than thirty minutes before the advertised start of the bonus feature. Admission charge is $10 for ages twelve and older; children 5–11 are $6; and children four and under get in free. Late night bonus feature tickets are $7.
All parking is designated by theater attendants and all vehicles must park at least six feet apart. Sitting outside your vehicles in lawn chairs or in the back of a pickup truck is permitted, as long as you remain at least six feet away from other guests. Face masks are not required unless you are in a public area. A note to families with children, the playground area is closed until further notice. All guests must remain inside or near their vehicles at all times, except for bathroom breaks, to visit the snack bar, or walking to a designated smoking area.
The snack bar is open, but visits are limited to one person per vehicle due to social distancing restrictions. The snack bar lobby will be limited to 10 people or less at a time, monitored social distancing lines are outside of the snack bar lobby and restrooms. Restrooms are sanitized regularly.
Programming updates for each week are posted on Tuesday afternoon.
July 31: Unhinged
August 12: Tenet
August 14: Greenland
August 21: Mulan; Antebellum
August 28: Bill & Ted Face the Music; The New Mutants
September 4: A Quiet Place: Part II
September 11: The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It
September 18: The King’s Man
September 25: Candyman
9950 Telegraph Road, Middleport
The Stornelli’s Sunset Drive-in is an enduring, open-air movie theater that also features Sunset Twisters, an ice cream shop, as well as an old-school American diner (food is now available for takeout only). The restaurant offers delicious and affordable food and is well known for some of the finest subs in the area. It’s normally open for dining even for folks not seeing a movie and opens at 4 p.m. daily. Keep this place on your list, it’s a slice of Americana decorated with antiques, 1950s memorabilia, and a fireplace converted into a working fish tank. Seating options include booths, tables, and counter seating.
The drive-in was opened in 1950 by Alex Stornelli in scenic Middleport (Niagara County), located between Rochester and Buffalo, and not far from Brockport, Batavia, and Lockport. The theater recently upgraded to three high definition digital projectors and high fidelity stereo FM sound.
Movies this summer have included Pixar’s Inside Out, The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters, Jumanji The Next Level, Black Panther, and Palm Springs, so expect a similar mix of family favorites and slightly older blockbusters for the rest of the season. Check out the website for movies and start times.
Tickets for adults and children twelve and older $10; children 5–11 $5; children under 4 years free.
Social distancing guidelines and precautions are in place, including maintain six feet of distance from other guests; all guests must wear a face mask whenever they are in a public area or are within six feet of other guests; and any additional state or federal laws put in place.
Wendy Guild Swearingen is editor of Forever Young.