With Traditional Movie Theaters Closed, Drive-Ins Are Thriving

Kirkikis, iStock via Getty Images
Kirkikis, iStock via Getty Images

Along with restaurants and theme parks, movie theaters across the country have closed in recent days in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. The virus can easily spread in large crowds of people in close proximity to each other, which means getting out of the house for a few hours to watch a movie is no longer a safe distraction. As the movie industry struggles, the situation has been a boon for one small sector of the business. The Los Angeles Times reports that drive-in movie theaters are actually benefiting from social distancing.

Drive-in theaters have been a dying breed for decades, with roughly 300 of them left in the U.S. But with few traditional options to choose from, movie lovers came out to their local drive-ins in droves on Wednesday, March 18. According to Deadline, the Paramount Drive-in California raked in $1183 that night, and the Sacramento 6 Drive-in made $1039 at the box office.

Several parts of the country have imposed limits on large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, but because a car counts as its own space, the restrictions don't apply to drive-ins. Mass closures of regular movie theaters isn't the only factor in the uptick in business. Most of the places people would normally go to socialize—like bars and restaurants—have become public health hazards. Pulling into a drive-in theater is now one of the few ways to share an experience with others outside the home while practicing safe social distancing.

If your weekend schedule is suddenly clear and you have a car, take the opportunity to support your nearest drive-in movie theater. Here are some of the coolest drive-ins across America.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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What Movie Do You Want to Watch? This Website Analyzes Film Critic Reviews to Help You Choose

She's smiling because it only took her two minutes to choose a movie.
She's smiling because it only took her two minutes to choose a movie.
Rowan Jordan/iStock via Getty Images

Much like sommeliers can detect subtle notes of who-knows-what in a sip of wine, film critics are fantastic at identifying influences and drawing parallels between movies. Cinetrii is a handy website that crowdsources all that movie knowledge to help you find your next favorite film.

Basically, you enter the name of a movie you enjoyed in the search bar, and the site will show you a node graph with film recommendations splintering off the search query. Click on one, and you’ll see a quote from a critic (or critics) who referenced the films together. This way, you get a list of recommendations based on different aspects of the movie, and you get to decide for yourself what you’d like to see more of.

If, for example, you were blown away by the special effects in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, you might like Doctor Strange; according to Variety, it boasts “a staggering visual effects innovation, in which the building-bending seen in Christopher Nolan’s Inception is taken to an extreme that would blow even M.C. Escher’s mind.” If what the Chicago Tribune calls an “elegant brain-bender” quality appealed to you more, The Matrix might be a perfect fit.

Films above your search query were released before the movie you typed in, while films below came out after it. The shorter the line, the more closely the films are related, as calculated by the website’s algorithm. And, as Lifehacker points out, that algorithm doesn’t give any special treatment to massive Hollywood blockbusters, so Cinetrii is an especially great way to find hidden gems. Because it shows you the critics' actual quotes, you’re not left to wonder why a certain film landed on the recommendations list—which can’t always be said for “Watch next” lists on streaming services.

You can explore Cinetrii here.

[h/t Lifehacker]