Historically, movies, shows, and live events have brought us all together. But in 2020, normal group gatherings are unwise and even outlawed in many locations due to COVID-19. Even with current restrictions and recommended procedures in place, we can still watch movies and events together in certain ways. Here are some ideas to stay safe and maintain that sense of camaraderie.
Watch at Select Theaters
Depending on where you live, you might actually be able to watch a movie on the big screen at your favorite theater. Many chains, like AMC and Cinemark, have reopened in areas where local health guidelines allow. You’ll almost certainly have to keep your distance from other moviegoers and wear a mask, but you’ll be able to enjoy the classic movie theater experience again.
To try to entice film fans to come out, many theaters are getting creative with screening options and coming up with ideas to increase guest and employee safety. Some theaters are showing classic films or seasonally-themed collections while there aren’t as many new movies being released. Cinemark is allowing guests to pay an increased fee ($99-$175) to host a private watch party with up to 20 guests where they get to pick the movie. If you’re satisfied with your local chain’s safety protocols, grab a mask, get a ticket, and go see that new blockbuster!
Watch at a Drive-In
Drive-in theaters are ideal for social distancing entertainment because they keep groups together in their own little area. Now, many drive-in theaters are making sure there is extra space between cars and updating cleaning protocols near concession stands and in restrooms to increase safety. Check out our list of classic drive-in theaters to find one located near you.
But what if you don’t have a traditional drive-in theater near you? Well, you might still be in luck. Many regular theaters, venues, and businesses are getting in on the action and opening up their parking lots for drive-in shows. Want to know the best part about these drive-ins popping up? Many of them aren’t just limited to showing movies. You can now be on the lookout for drive-in concerts! While you won’t be able to move around freely and dance as you could in years past, there’s nothing like a live show. So run a quick search and see if any places near you are offering drive-in entertainment during the fall and winter months.
Watch in Your Yard
If you’re not comfortable venturing out to a theater for a big-screen experience, that’s totally understandable. Don’t be discouraged, though, because you can always create a bigger-than-your-TV-screen experience in your backyard! You can get a nice projector for under $100 and find a budget option for speakers. If you want to cut down on your costs, you can use a sheet, fence, or wall as your screen. If you have speakers already, there’s no need to invest in new ones. After you’ve purchased the necessary items, setting up is simple.
- Set up your screen (if you bought one) or locate your backdrop.
- Set up your projector and make sure it’s positioned appropriately for the best possible picture.
- Connect your speakers and test that they’re working.
- Enjoy the show!
Like the drive-ins popping up around the country, your new backyard theater doesn’t have to be limited to movies. You can connect your laptop and stream your favorite team’s game. If you have the space available, a home setup can be a fun and safe way to watch with neighbors or friends while keeping your distance.
If socially distant in-person gatherings are not an option for you, there are virtual ways to watch with others that are available to you.
For the music fan, Billboard has a running list of livestreams and virtual concerts. Some small theaters, like the Belcourt in Nashville, have been offering livestreams of films. Twitch is widely known as a site for content creators to stream video games, but streamers across the site are now able to host watch parties with any show or movie in the Amazon Prime library. Netflix Party, a Chrome extension, will synchronize your Netflix viewing experience with friends and allows you to chat while you watch.