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Illustration by Mariah Wilson; photo of drive-in theatre courtesy of Ed Garten/Flickr.

On the Bright Side: Drive In movies are back

By Vanessa Carter, August 24 2020—

During the few instances I’ve been on Deerfoot Trail during quarantine, a sign that reads “Thank You Scientists” can be seen hanging on the side of the magnificent Telus Spark building, recognizing those working around the clock to push humanity back to normal. For years, this building has been an innovative space for Calgarians of all ages to experience the wonders of science. While having many fond memories of visiting Telus Spark on various field trips in junior high, I remember thinking how that place made anything look possible, leaving me to wonder if there was anything more it could do. 

Turns out there is. Recently, Telus Spark has taken the initiative to cheer on the community in these bleak times and launch a collaboration with creative company B!G ART to set up a drive-in theatre to showcase movies, sing-a-long karaoke and live-action stunts from Le Cirque De La Nuit during screenings. 

A quick look at the movie listings shows many classic family favourites such as Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, Grease, Spiderman: Homecoming, The Lego Movie and more. With such an impressive lineup, it’s no wonder more than half of the dates are sold out, with most tickets starting at $15 and going up to $60. Since this is more costly compared to the regular fares of movie theatres, it seems people are willing to pay a price for nostalgia and escape the 2020 blues. 

It’s crazy to me how these movies portray such an optimistic hope for the future where everyone co-exists through technological advancements or where our biggest problems were only against other people. While we have certainly achieved living in an age of technology, going through a global pandemic has led me to believe that somewhere in between the timeframe of these movies and now, people have stopped looking forward to what’s coming ahead. It’s not unusual to hear people saying, “I wish we still had old fashioned diners where everyone could hang out” or “I wish we all had record players and old antiques.” This nostalgia for the blissful times of the past century has made everyone scramble to do whatever they can to escape our current time, which is a likely reason why this collaboration has been so successful. 

Perhaps longing for the bliss of the past isn’t so bad after all. In fact, maybe we can even learn from the good-nature spirit the characters in these classic movies had when it came to overcoming their own trials. We can also learn how we can have high hopes in tough times, just like the Ghostbusters uniting to save humanity, Daniel LaRusso overcoming his fears through karate, and Emmet working with friends all over the Lego Universe. 

For a full listing of movies and dates or to buy tickets, visit Telus Spark’s website.

On the Bright Side is a regular column by Gauntlet volunteers. Covering feel-good news, information and opinions from around the world, On the Bright Side is a little piece of positivity in a wild world. To submit, contact the column editor, volunteer coordinator Susie Ngo.

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