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Driven to distraction on wheels

By Li Xinzhu (China Daily)

09:02, June 26, 2012

The recently opened Griffin Drive-in Theater in Shanghai, which fits in about 150 cars, Provides entertainment until 4 am.(China Daily)

In an age of 3D films, DVDs and high-definition screens you could be forgiven for thinking that drive-in movie theaters had gone the way of the dinosaur. It can be happily reported that not only are drive-in movies alive and well 80 years after their birth, but that they are faring rather well in at least a few places far from their American birthplace. A drive-in theater that opened in the Pudong district of Shanghai last month has attracted a huge amount of interest and provided movie goers with a novel experience that has a distinct retro feel about it. Griffin Drive-in Theater, which covers more than 10,000 square meters, enough space for about 150 cars, is run by Beijing Griffin Film and Television Culture Media Company. Two steel truss structures hold the screen, which is about 20 meters long and 12 meters wide.

"It was a unique film watching experience," said Tang Hongjie, 28, who works for an immigrant consulting company in Shanghai, and who said he had seen drive-in theaters many times in American movies.

"So I borrow a car from my friend immediately after I heard the news."

The managers say business is brisk, particularly at weekends, with full houses being reported, particularly between 7 pm and 10 pm.

Zhu Xiaodong, 29, deputy manager, said the sheer numbers in Shanghai bode well for the theater.

"Shanghai has millions of cars and more than 20 million population. It is a great market."

In the three weeks after the theater opened on May 18, Zhu said, several minor changes were made based on the feedback from the audiences.

"Shanghai people prefer to watch movies with original soundtracks, so we replaced all dubbed versions as soon as that became clear to us."

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