Cape Town to get drive-in cinema

For many in lockdown, the magic of being able to watch as many films as you desire on streaming platforms is wearing off very quickly. Being in the confines of home for so long has left Cape Town’s residents craving something extraordinary to knock their socks off, and what better way to do that than bringing back the nostalgia of the drive-in cinema.

Capetonians have something to look forward to, as the Mother City Drive-In has announced it is in the works of launching a cinematic experience like no other. The news was announced via its Facebook page, and while it remains a mystery when locals will be able to watch a good flick from their cars, the news is exciting nonetheless.

The Mother City Drive-In also promises to be offer a solution to getting out of the house to watch a film while audiences remain safe from COVID-19 in the safety of their cars.

This is not the first cinema of its kind in Cape Town, but it is the first one in recent years. Previously, drive-in cinemas were the only way for cinephiles to see the latest movies, but as seated cineplexes rose in popularity, the interest in drive-ins was lost.

During the 1960s, Cape Town’s second-largest drive-in cinema thrived in the spot where the Grand West Casino now stands. At the time, it was the fourth of its kind in the city, and was situated adjacent to the Cape Show Grounds. The Goodwood Drive-In had one big screen, and could accommodate a maximum of 1 066 cars. The drive-in closed in the mid-90s.

The Funlands Drive-In was also popular with Capetonians, and was located on Swartklip Road. The area where the cinema stood was developed in later years and formed part of what is now known as Mitchells Plain. It opened in the 1970s, and was closed a decade later in the 1980s. Thus far, it holds the record as the biggest drive-in in Cape Town, and accommodated one big screen and a maximum of 1 300 cars.

The Sea Breeze Drive-In opened in the early 1960s, and used to stand in the spot that is now the Cle du Cap retirement village in Kirstenhof. The Skyvue Ster Drive-In existed in the mid-50s in the area that is now Kuils River. “It was first drive-in cinema in Cape Town and closed in 1998 and a housing complex was established on the site,” Cinema Treasures reads.

Another one of Cape Town’s past drive-in cinemas is the iconic Sunset Drive-In. It was situated on the corners of Old Strandfontein and New Ottery roads, and opened in the mid-1950s. It was the city’s second drive-in cinema and was renamed to Sunset Ster Drive-In in the 1980s. The Sunset Ster Drive-In was demolished in the mid-1980s and a brewery depot was established on the site.