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Free drive-in movie nights, coming soon to an airport near you

Ontario International Airport plans to host four movie nights at a pop-up drive-in on one of its parking lots.
(Ontario International Airport)

Ready for a free night at the movies? Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County will host four movie nights at a pop-up drive-in to give folks something to do during these stay-at-home times. Movies are shown on two 50-foot screens with sound delivered through your vehicle’s FM radio.

“People miss going to the movies, and right now, anyway, there aren’t that many family entertainment opportunities,” airport spokesman Steve Lambert wrote in an email Wednesday.

The series starts June 19 with “Ford v Ferrari,” parts of which were filmed in an old hangar at the airport. It continues with “The Sandlot” on July 3, “The Princess Bride” on July 17 and “Napoleon Dynamite” on July 31.

Drive-in movie theaters are seeing an uptick in business across the country as audiences practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

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You must sign up online to reserve one pass per vehicle. They are given out first come, first served, with capacity set at 300 cars. Screens will be set up in one of the remote parking lots on the northern edge of the airport. Doors open at 7 p.m., and movies start at 8:30 p.m.

You can buy food on-site from Poutine Brothers, the Grilled Cheese Truck, Afters Ice Cream and My Delight Cupcakery.

And you can help replenish local food banks. Moviegoers are asked to donate a canned or boxed food item when they arrive.

Besides last year’s “Ford v Ferrari,” the city of Ontario’s film credits include “Argo” (2012), “Catch Me If You Can” (2002), “A League of Their Own” (1992) and “Up in the Air” (2009), according to the airport.

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Ontario’s airport isn’t the first to offer free flicks. When air traffic plunged because of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, the airport in Vilnius, Lithuania, hosted film nights on its tarmac. Since then airports in Uruguay and Winnipeg, Canada, have done the same.

As Catalina Island reopens more fully, weekend boat service to the destination is also increasing.

Still craving more of the drive-in experience? These Southern California sites recently reopened for a film night out under the stars:

Van Buren Drive-In, 3035 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside; (951) 688-2360

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Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre, 10798 Ramona Ave., Montclair; (909) 628-0511

Vineland Drive-In, 443 N. Vineland Ave., City of Industry; (626) 961-9262

Paramount Drive-In Theatres, 7770 Rosecrans Ave., Paramount; (562) 630-7469

Rubidoux Drive-In Theatre, 3770 Opal St., Riverside; (951) 683-4455


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