Drive-in movie theatre


Dublin Core


Drive-in movie theatre


Cork Film Festival, Drive-in


This is a colour publicity photo from the Irish Examiner for the 51st Cork Film Festival in 2006. It shows an outdoor drive-in movie theatre with a large outdoor screen and a parking area full of cars facing the screen. The screen shows the actor Anthony Hopkins in a scene from the 1991 blockbuster movie The Silence of the Lambs directed by Johnathan Demme. The glow of the screen lights up the parking lot, while in the back-ground the city lights twinkle in the dark.

Drive-in movie theatres have been around since the 1920s with the first one being patented in America in the 1930s. With the rise of car ownership in the 1940s and 1950s, drive-in theatres became popular ways for families to watch movies, especially in rural areas. They were also great places for young couples to meet and date, as we saw in the movie Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978). With the advent of home entertainment and real estate costs, drive-in attendance declined from the 1970s through to the late 1990s. However, their retro-nostalgic appeal created a mini-boom in America which ebbs and flows, dictated by economics (car use, price of oil), access to cinema via online streaming, or coronavirus pandemic. 

Ireland’s first drive-in cinema, Movie Junction, was based at Carrigtwohill in Cork for almost ten years, until its closure in 2019. However, with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, drive-in cinemas are making a come-back as patrons can enjoy a movie while maintaining social distancing. In 2020, Iran had its first post-revolution drive-in film, showing Exodus by the Iranian filmmaker Ebrahim Hatamikia. Hatamikia’s drama movie was due to be released in theatres around Iran in March 2020 but, due to the pandemic, it went directly to online screening before hitting the big outdoor screen under the iconic Milad tower in the capital Tehran. And, much like drive-in cinemas have always done, patrons sat in their cars, albeit having been sprayed with disinfectant in this case, and listened to the movie via their FM car radio. (AP, 'Coronavirus returns long-banned drive-in movies to Iran', The New York Times, 05.05.2020.)


University College Cork, Cork Film Festival, Irish Examiner


Cork Film Festival Collection


University College Cork




Irish Examiner


©Examiner Publications (Cork) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please credit Cork International Film Festival & provide a link back to this site.




English, eng


Cork, Ireland

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

303 x 251mm



University College Cork, Cork Film Festival, Irish Examiner, “Drive-in movie theatre,” Cork International Film Festival Archive, accessed March 5, 2024,