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Drive-in cinema review: The perfect summer outing without rustling popcorn

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13 July, 2020 – 18:23

Pop Up Pictures' drive in cinema at the Norfolk Showground Picture: Louisa Baldwin

Pop Up Pictures’ drive in cinema at the Norfolk Showground Picture: Louisa Baldwin

Archant

Drive-in cinemas have been hugely popular in America for decades, but with social distancing now a part of everyday life they finally seem to be hitting it off in the UK with events popping up across the country.

You had to tune into an FM radio frequency to hear the film Picture: Louisa BaldwinYou had to tune into an FM radio frequency to hear the film Picture: Louisa Baldwin

One of the companies that is running drive-in cinema events this summer is Pop Up Pictures, who have organised outdoor screenings across East Anglia for the last five years, and from Thursday to Sunday they showed 12 films at the Norfolk Showground.

Their Summer Drive-in Movies event offered something for all ages and tastes, with the films selected by polls on social media, and the line-up included Grease, The Lion King, thankfully the original 1994 version, and Back to the Future.

I opted for 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park and headed along with my boyfriend on Sunday afternoon – thankfully it was warm with clear skies so the only supplies we needed were a cloth and some window cleaner.

All the daytime screenings were shown on an LED screen and the evening ones from a large projector, with two neighbouring areas with 90 and 120 parking spaces respectively, and tickets were around the £20 mark per car based on two people, or it was an extra £1 for each added passenger.

Wok Box were one of the vendors at the Eating Street Market Picture: James RandleWok Box were one of the vendors at the Eating Street Market Picture: James Randle

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I felt the price was very reasonable, especially for families, and there is the added bonus that you can bring whatever food and drink you want and you obviously don’t have to pay for parking.

The check-in process was very easy and contactless and I just had to show a QR code on my phone which was scanned and then there were stewards directing cars row by row.

I’m only 5ft 2in so when I go to a regular cinema, if the seats aren’t banked up, I can often end up shuffling the whole film to see around the person in front, but there was no risk of that here and the beauty of being in a car is that you can recline your chair too.

The Cinema Snack Shack at the Eating Street Market Picture: Louisa BaldwinThe Cinema Snack Shack at the Eating Street Market Picture: Louisa Baldwin

On the screen it then instructed everyone to tune their radios into an FM frequency, which played music until the film started, and the sound was very clear and perfectly in sync.

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While waiting for the film to start, we wandered over to the Eating Street Market, which was running alongside the screenings all weekend, and there were 11 local vendors including The Duck Truck, Churros and Chorizo and Jake’s Flakes.

It catered for those that wanted sweet and salty popcorn, at the Cinema Snack Shack, to those wanting sweet and sour chicken, from Wok Box, and it was brilliant to have so much choice.

Getting ready for the film to start with popcorn from Uber-Corn from the Eating Street Market Picture: Louisa BaldwinGetting ready for the film to start with popcorn from Uber-Corn from the Eating Street Market Picture: Louisa Baldwin

Now I’m ashamed to admit it but I had never seen Jurassic Park – it was released the year before I was born, not really an excuse, but I have just never got around to watching it.

I can imagine the vast majority of other people at the drive-in had got tickets because they are huge fans of the film and I saw people walking around in Jurassic Park t-shirts.

Even though it is 27 years too late I loved it, particularly Jeff Goldblum who was hilarious, and it worked perfectly as a drive-in film and the dinosaurs were brilliant on the big screen.

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Watching Jurassic Park at the Pop-Up Pictures drive-in cinema at the Norfolk Showground Picture: Louisa BaldwinWatching Jurassic Park at the Pop-Up Pictures drive-in cinema at the Norfolk Showground Picture: Louisa Baldwin

I hate people having loud conversations and rustling sweets and popcorn at the cinema, but being in separate cars you don’t have that problem and if someone was we could have just winded up the window.

The only minor issue we had was that because it was so bright on Sunday you couldn’t see the really dark bits that well, which was a slight problem in the beginning scene where one of the dinosaur handlers is killed, but the rest of the time the picture was very clear.

At the end of the film, the stewards directed cars out of the Showground one row at a time and it took just a few minutes to get out.

It was the perfect summer afternoon and was all the best bits of going to the cinema without the irritating parts.

Visit popuppictures.musthavetickets.co.uk for future screenings.


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