Now showing: SM opens country’s first-ever drive-in cinema

Movie theaters may still closed to the public due to quarantine measures, but you can still see upcoming films. That is, if you’re in Pampanga. SM Cinema opened on July 31 its newest out-of-home entertainment experience: the SM Cinema Drive-in: Movies at Sundown.

The first-ever drive-in movie theater, which opened in 1933 in New Jersey, was the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead, a movie fan and a sales manager at his father’s company. According to reports, he came up with the idea of an open-air theater because his mother’s struggle to sit comfortably in traditional movie theater seats.

Today, the SM Cinema Drive-in at SM City Pampanga’s Amphitheater serves a different purpose: it allows guests to watch movies on the big screen while observing social distancing rules set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

During its opening day, the drive-in theater featured the movies Train to Busan 2: Peninsula and My Spy.

A #SafeAndFunMovieWatching for Filipinos

Guests will be assigned their own parking spots to be guided by traffic marshals. Once settled, spectators can see the film of their choice on a 20m x 8m screen raised 3 feet above the ground, and will be asked to tune in to a specific frequency on their car’s FM radio to broadcast the audio straight into their vehicles.

Guests can also choose the 6:30pm and 8:50pm schedules from July 31 to August 2. In the succeeding weeks, schedules will be every Thursday to Sundays at 6:45pm.

And what’s a drive-in cinema without movie snacks? For a ticket price of P400 per person, viewers get a regular popcorn, bottled water, and beef franks from SnackTime.

To get the best view for all guests, SM Cinema recommends two persons per vehicle (a maximum of four guests per vehicle will be allowed). Attendees must also be between the ages 21 and 59, pursuant to the safety guidelines set by the IATF. For added safety, viewers will also be asked to stay inside their vehicles with their masks on and practice social distancing all throughout the duration of the movie.

Tickets for SM Cinema’s Movies at Sundown must be purchased online in advance at to ensure an uninterrupted viewing experience. No tickets will be sold at the venue, and viewers are advised to arrive at least 30 minutes before their scheduled screening.


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