CATHEDRAL CITY — As temperatures begin to cool, what better way for movie enthusiasts to enjoy some of  the latest Hollywood releases than from the comfort of your car at a drive-in theater?

That could happen sooner than later if the City Council today, Wednesday, Aug. 26, approves Special Use Permit for D’Place Entertainment to have a Drive-In movie theater concept. Westfield Palm Desert introduced a similar concept earlier this month.

Not only could it provide entertainment, it could also bring in a little revenue.

Movie theaters have been hit hard since the March 2020 shutdown. Downtown Cathedral City’s Mary Pickford Movie Theater is no exception. After nearly six months of no income, operators of the Mary Pickford Theater are requesting the special use permit to operate a drive-in movie theater, according to Stone James, economic development director.

The drive-in theater would be located on approximately two-acres of vacant land located within Downtown Cathedral City east of Buddy Rogers, west of the A Street, south of Grove Street, and north of the west/east portion of “A” Street (“Site”).

“While a temporary use, the applicant believes a break from the stress of a global pandemic will
benefit both City residents and prevent an important Downtown business from permanently closing,” James writes in a staff report.

The applicant plans on operating the drive-in theater up to seven days a week, depending on guest demand. If approved, the applicant would begin placing equipment on the site starting Aug. 28 and operate the theater through Feb. 28, 2021. When open,  guest vehicles would be loaded no earlier than 6 p.m. All movie activities will conclude by 10:30 p.m. All guest cars will be off the site, and the site secured by or before 11 p.m., according to Stone.

Since the movies’ sound will be broadcasted over individual cars’ radio systems, there will be no amplified sound equipment on the site.

Movies will be projected onto a large screen hung on alongside three vertically-stacked shipping containers (in total, approximately 45’ long, 10’ wide, and 28.5’ tall). These shipping containers will be located on the western side of the site, just east of Buddy Rogers Drive.

A maximum of 51 cars will be allowed at any given showing.

Starting in month three, the City would receive 5% of gross ticket sale and concession revenues, capped at $1,800 per month.

The City Council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.

Image Sources

  • drive-in: iStock