Northfield Drive-In’s opening night brings moviegoers ‘a little bit of normalcy’ amid coronavirus pandemic

Even in the 1980s drive-in theaters were already relics — fading love letters to the early days of America’s romance with the automobile. “Nationwide, drive-ins sputter along,” said the headline of a 1988 Associated Press story that described the number of theaters falling by half over 30 years, from a peak of just over 4,000 in 1958. Another 30 years on, only 321 were operating last year, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

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