Covid-19 might have forced cinemas in many countries to shut down, but the silver screen experience lives on and sees a renaissance of the drive-in cinema experience, popular especially in the US in the 50s and 60s.

In Norway where the cinema shut down from March 12 will be extended to June 15, a handful of exhibitors in a dozen Norwegian cities including Bergen and Oslo have taken the initiative to organise such drive-in film events as a way to adhere to the government’s strict social distancing guidelines, while allowing film lovers a chance to watch films on a big screen.

The ‘Filmweb Drive-in Kino’ at Telenor Arena, Fornebu close to Oslo is a unique experience as an indoor drive-in, able to host 100 cars per screening. The concept was put together by Norway’s leading film portal, the cinema chains Nordisk Film Kino, Odeon Kino, in collaboration with Telenor Arena and Rema 1000 stores. Each car placed at a 2-metre interval, can carry up to five people, and tickets per car are available at NOK375 (€32) for the first four rows closest to the screen, and NOK 275 (€23.5) for the remaining five rows.

Seventeen films – a mix of new releases and classics - were programmed at four daily shows during eight days, on an 18x7 metre screen, with the sound available through each car’s FM radio. Most new releases had opened before the cinema lockdowns and benefitted from marketing campaigns, such as the Norwegian films The Crossing, Ella Bella Bingo, Fools in the Mountain, All Foreigners Keep Their Curtains, Danish comedy Klown 3-The Final, the Oscar-winning Parasite and US mainstream titles Bloodshot, Onward and UK comedy The Gentlemen among others.

Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s office controller Salma Reiermark Karoliussen who attended several screenings with her family during Easter said: “It was a super experience for everyone. None of us had experienced Drive-in before. It was exciting and a bit magical to drive into a large hall where we have seen concerts and shows before.”

According to Filmweb, nearly 10,000 film buffs drove in, and all 28 screenings were sold out. “It was so popular that we are going to continue with Filmweb Drive-in Kino for the next two months,” said Filmweb’s CEO Harald L. Sæther.