Drive-Ins in China

Paul pointed me to this interesting article:

Drive-Ins the Hot, ‘New’ Thing in China

It is so interesting to me, as a new car owner. I admire that the drive-ins are already available in Beijing, but not in Shanghai yet.

Re: Movie

Every time I look back, I am surprised by the high speed of the change in life in China. When I was in my teenager, as described in the article, I did carry my small bench to a large football field to see movies. Workers will dig holes on the ground and setup tall poles, then hang the big screen in between. They have to pull ropes to fix the poles and the screen. The operator will sit besides the old fashioned movie player (very noisy) and show the whole audience (all on the football field with small benches). That was just 15 years ago and now, people still see the movie on the field, but in cars.

“You could say that we Chinese have gone from sitting on a rock to sitting in a car.”, according to Mr. Wang in the article. LOL.

Re: Car

There are definitely more cars in Beijing than in Shanghai, due to the wider road, larger area of the city, and cheap plate fee (around 200RMB). Shanghai has much larger population but smaller areas. A car plate has been 44200 RMB or more, according to the result of yesterday’s bidding, a 1200 RMB rise than last month.

Thanks, Paul, for pointing me to this interesting report. Can anyone tell me why there are fewer driver-ins in U.S?

15 thoughts on “Drive-Ins in China

  1. Do you think Shanghai is taking a more responsible approach to traffic control and transportation issues? I’ve been there twice and never felt overwhelmed by the traffic or number of cars on the road. In fact, for a city of its size it all seemed rather orderly.

    Beijing, on the other hand, was a complete traffic nightmare (and also a lot more polluted than Shanghai). Any thoughts on the different approaches taken by the two cities in regards to balancing car ownership with traffic and pollution issues?

  2. I’ll try and answer your question. I think there are a number of reasons there are less and less drive-ins in the U.S. now than there were say 10-15 years ago.

    Profitablity: Some not all drive-ins charged by the car load, not by the number of people in the car. Although you could have some friends hide in the trunk of the car to cut down the cost and people would do this.

    Operating Times: You could only see movies in the evening after the sun has set.

    Rowdiness: Some people would bring in Alcohol and cause problems.

    Frisky Moviegoers: Some people would use their cars as portable hotel rooms.

    Most of these things I have done at one time or another, though my friends and I never got rowdy or abusive, just drunk. My memories are all positive. There was the time I was with an old girlfriend sitting in the back of my pickup truck snuggled under some blankets, eating popcorn, having some Cokes, very good memories that will last a lifetime!

    You make what you can of the moment. I think it’s important to always support the people or business who help bring about the good times you have, example: buying food and drinks from the snack shop at the drive-ins. Sadly not everyone feels the same way.

  3. I like Paul’s comment when he said “You make what you can of the moment.”

    I had never gone into a drive-in in my life. When I was a kid, I walked to the drive-in with my brother and joined numerous other people, sitting outside the entrance to the drive-in and watched the silence movie from a great distance, with no audio, of course. When they showed Bruce Lee’s movie, the fence outside the drive-in was lined up with people that you can hardly find a spot to squeeze in.

    Well, that was twenty five years ago when not many people owns car. Few years after they opened their drive-in, they closed it down and the drive-in cinema had since converted into a wet and wild water sport park. Drive-in became only memory to that generation because the younger generation do not have the chance to experience.

    It’s indeed refreshing to find out that drive-in starts catching the fever in China. If I do go to shanghai, I’ll try to go to the drive-in and get another chance to relive the fond memory of Drive-in again.

  4. Just stopped by for this topic, personally I don’t think this city is and will provide more road space for car lovers. Public transportation is and should be the major transportation for 17 million crowded people, for both safety and environment. Everyday I spend 3 hours on the shuttle bus provided by my company, looking at those roads stuffed with different cars and people are nervous + angry… come on, pull the cars into the garrage and leave it there.

    I have driving lisence and love driving, but not in this city, your gear box is always too weak on 1st and 2nd gear…

  5. Another factor contributing to the demise of the drive-in was the advent of the “home movie”, i.e. cable, the VCR,and now DVD.

    Back in the 50s and 60s, if you wanted to see a new Hollywood movie, you went to a movie theatre with a huge crowd of other people. The drive-in was novel and exciting because it was like seeing a private showing of a film. Watching a movie while sitting in your own “room” with just your family or friends was fun.

    Once it became easy to watch movies at home on television (cable, VCR, DVD), the drive-in became a lot less attractive. Who wanted to be stuck in a car with fogged windows and crap sound when you could be at home with your own surround-sound mini-theatre?

    I can still clearly recall going to see “Planet of the Apes” at the drive-in, Dad at the wheel of his light blue ’65 Mercury …

  6. Drive-in theaters are something more than 30 years stuff. As I know that it has been greatly downhill and diminished in America. Nowadays, very few people go to drive-in for movie. Well, for the lovers, that will be another story. We now like to enjoy mvoie in mega-screen, wide-screen and reclining chair. It is surely a new thing in Shanghai. I bet that it won’t be last long. People in Shanghai are smart. They certainly woul and couldd find much better places for their entertainment.

  7. WJS, LOL!

    Your site is really pretty funny. You talk about everything and anything that comes into your life. The only thing missing now is a dog and 2.3 kids and your life will be that of an average American.

    Drive-ins… what a concept. I’ve been driving for 17 years and I’ve never once been to a drive-in. In the San Francisco Bay Area, I don’t think we have any more drive-ins. I honestly believe teenagers go to drive-ins to try to make out. They don’t really go for the movies. :-)

  8. I believe the invention of multi-showroom movie theaters with reclining chairs, sloped floor, wide screens, superb surround sound, lower ticket price, continueous showing (theater hopping), and the sheer number of choices revived the indoor movie business and pushed the drive-ins out of the competition.

  9. Absolutely great – it’s very rare to find a drive-in movie in the U.S. any more, so it is wonderful to see these in China now. It’s something that hopefully people will enjoy for a while because everyone seems to like it a lot – at least Americans liked it a long time ago. Because if something like this goes away, it is definitely something that everyone misses and longs for again. In regards to james chia above, don’t think that because drive-in movies is 30+ year old form of entertainment that this means it is primitive or un-enjoyable – every American who has gone to one loves it – and many Americans wish that drive-in movies could be brought back again. It’s not about technology or what is hip or modern, it’s all about pure entertainment, relaxation, and fun. Please don’t take it as an insult insinuating that Shanghai people are backwards for adopting such an old form of entertainment. Personally I think Shanghai people’s constant adoption of the very latest and expensive things they can buy is what is ridiculous. If someone is really cool, their coolness does need to be advertised to be known.

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  11. I have ever happened to a drive in theatre near East four roll. thouth it is a new thing in china, it grows fast. More and more couples would like to take their kids to the theatre to enjoy the weekends.

    anyhow, in my hometown Lanzhou, there is no drive in theatre. Is there anyone who is kind enough to tell me the cost of running a drive in theatre?

    thank you

  12. hello ,

    i am from new delhi , india . we have a drive-in in mumbai , but not a

    single one in new delhi .

    to search for a drive-in in my city of which i might not be knowing , i

    spent some time in surfing over the net for a drive-in in my city .

    although , i did not find any drive-ins’s located in new delhi . but i

    sure did find a new approach for drive-ins’s about which i read at .

    they are already present in the usa , canada and australia . other

    upcoming venues are in germany , brazil , indonesia and other places .

    i have written to them showing my desire for starting a delhi chapter

    and they have response was very encouraging .

    the best part about them is they are free and they inform us about the

    shows held every fortnight .

    hope you all enjoy the experince , as i am waiting to start my own

    drive-in chapter .

    happy mobbing .


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