Rooftop Cinema Club’s Drive-In at Santa Monica Airport Comes to an End

By Kamala Kirk

Since Fall 2020, Rooftop Cinema Club has transported their rooftop experience to the runway, offering a safe and much-needed entertainment experience to Angelenos at the Santa Monica Airport.

Drive-in movies have experienced an unexpected revival during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of its two-month operation that ended in early February, Rooftop Cinema Club’s hit Drive-In at the Santa Monica Airport welcomed more than 24,000 guests that came from all over to enjoy the rooftop experience on the runway.

Since the Drive-In’s debut at the airport, guests enjoyed movies under the stars during these times of social distancing. A wide variety of films have been shown, ranging from 1980s classics like “The Breakfast Club” and family-friendly favorites such as “Shrek” to romantic comedies and thrillers.

Movies were projected onto a 52-foot screen and audio was broadcast through the FM transmitter radio in people’s cars. Food and beverage services were offered through a completely contactless system, allowing people to enjoy the ultimate safe and open-air cinema experience.

“We opened the Drive-In at Santa Monica Airport with a mission to bring a bit of joy and relief to the community in a safe and unique environment,” said Rooftop Cinema Club founder Gerry Cottle. “During our stay, we screened over 120 times, safely entertained over 50,000 happy customers and donated nearly $20,000 to charity through our weekly community screenings. Without our amazing team, we wouldn’t have been able to create such a highly celebrated experience, so a huge thank you to everyone who’s been on our staff, as well as a huge thank you to our guests for believing in us and sharing their experiences with friends, family and strangers alike.”

In 2011, Rooftop Cinema Club started out as a single rooftop in London’s Shoreditch. Since then, it has expanded to include three venues in the United Kingdom and five venues in Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and Houston. In addition to rooftop venues, Rooftop Cinema Club now presents three family-friendly drive-ins across California and Texas, with more locations opening up nationwide.

Rooftop Cinema Club’s LA rooftop locations, including LEVEL in downtown LA and NeueHouse Hollywood, are set to open in Spring 2021.

“It’s been such a great experience bringing a drive-in to the Westside, right in my own backyard,” said Cottle. “I’ve loved seeing fellow Angelenos enjoy some escapism and connection in a safe and socially distant way, in a time where we really need it. This isn’t a goodbye, just a see you later! We’ve still got big plans for LA, including bringing back our rooftops and another drive-in later this year. Stay tuned for more updates from us and thank you to everyone for being a part of our drive-in journey.”

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