The owners of The Big Mo drive-in theater announced that they will have to temporarily shut down due to Hollywood studios postponing film releases as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The theater took the necessary social distancing precautions during their recent weekend opening, including closing off the children's playground, adding additional space between cars and maintaining a window-only concession stand.
Big Mo owner Lisa Boaz said that keeping the drive-in open by showing older movies isn't yet plausible due to the additional costs of having to show the films.
"We heard some rumors that some of the studios may be able to release some of their old stuff to us, but when the big boys are closed, they really don't pay that much attention to us independent theaters," she said. "Right now we're up in the air. We don't really know when we'll be back."
A myriad of dramas, sitcoms and talk shows, from “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to ABC’s long-running medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” and Apple TV+'s “The Morning Show,” have been canceled or suspended production as industry officials have imposed new restrictions on film crew sizes.
Upcoming films such as "Minions: The Rise of Gru" are in post-production but are also delayed for release due to the filmmakers inability to finish the film.
The blow has also hit Aiken's Regal Mall cinema, which closed it's doors after Regal announced the closure of all theater locations starting March 17 as a precaution until further notice.
For families, the closing of the drive-in is a major disappointment.
Lindsay and Arthur Yon from Lexington brought their two young children, Foster and Sylvie, to the drive-in to entertain them while their respective schools are shut down. The children were unable to play on the drive-in's playground but played with toys in their parent's minivan as they waited for the movie to start.
Arthur said he and his wife were hoping to bring the children to more outdoor events while the coronavirus continues. The family constantly has hand sanitizer and wet wipes on hand for additional protection
"We're not taking (the coronavirus) lightly, but we feel like these outdoor places are more safe." Arthur said. "We're monitoring the media for updates, listening out for the government-issued warnings. When they tell us not to leave, we'll abide by it."
The Monetta Drive-In Theatre – one of three remaining drive-in movie theaters in South Carolina – opened as a single-screen movie theater in 1951. It closed in 1986 and reopened in 1999. The second screen was added in 2005 and the third screen was added in 2011. The giant peach was built to house the digital projector on the Main Field in 2014.
The drive-in normally offers double features every weekend from March through November.