Drive-in test run today

Drive-in test run today

Thursday, October 22, 2020

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Efforts are under way to complete work for the reopening of the New Kingston drive-in cinema in St Andrew.

Palace Amusement Company, Jamaica's sole motion picture exhibitor and distributor, is set to return to the drive-in format today after decades of closure. This has become necessary due to the current COVID-19 crisis which has resulted in a dramatic downturn in patronage at its cinemas across Jamaica and led to the indefinite closure of Palace Cineplex in Liguanea, St Andrew, and Palace Multiplex located at the Fairview Shopping Complex in Montego Bay.

The company will be doing a dry run at the New Kingston drive-in today, offering a free showing of the animated film Spies in Disguise featuring the voices of Will Smith, Tom Holland, Ben Mendelsohn, DJ Khaled and more, in a bid to work through any kinks in the system ahead of tomorrow's official opening which will see The War With Grandpa, starring Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman, playing on the screen.

Marketing manager at Palace Amusement Melanie Graham told the Jamaica Observer that this undertaking has been particularly difficult for the company as it was not in their plans and, given the difficulties with COVID-19, adjustments have to be made constantly.

“We are working to get everything ready for the dry run, as that will show us the direction we have to go. It has not been an easy task and funding for this project has perhaps been the most difficult aspect, but we are moving ahead nonetheless,” she noted.

The drive-in cinema will be able to accommodate a total of 200 cars. Admission has been set at $1,250 per person.

There has been concern that given the current curfew times patrons will not be able to get in and out of the film within the legal hours. However, Graham noted that that has been taken into consideration.

“We are working with the curfew times. We also need to get staff out and off the streets so we have had to think about that. We have realised that at this time of year we can start the movies as early as 6:30 [pm], but tomorrow we will see exactly how that works. If that is the case we can possibly open the gates as early at six o'clock,” she added.

Graham noted that there will be one noticeable change, as the concession stands which were previously located indoors have been relocated to a covered area outdoors. This she said is primarily due to limited funds to upgrade the indoor facility. However, she noted that having it outdoors is more in keeping with COVID-19 protocols at this time.

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