drive-in movies

A Pop-up Drive-In Is Circling Back to Santa Monica Airport

Several watch-from-your-car gems are ahead for Street Food Cinema's drive-in theater, which will return to Santa Monica in mid-February.

Street Food Cinema

What to Know

  • The pop-up drive-in theater is located at Santa Monica Airport
  • "La La Land," "Encanto," and other films are on the schedule, starting in the middle of February 2022
  • $20 car entry, $8 per individual (both are required); food trucks will visit each screening

There are so many wonderful and even whimsical ways to connect flying machines to marvelous films.

You might watch a movie on a plane, either via the large screen at the front of the cabin, or on the small screen on the back of the headrest in front of you, or even on your phone.

You might want to watch a movie about a plane, the sort of up-in-the-air fantasy that Hollywood has long loved creating ever since the Oscar-winning "Wings" took flight in 1927 (though surely before even then, of course).

But the opportunity to connect with fictional worlds while outside at an airport is a rather more surreal cinematic experience.

Consider this, however: Airports are well-established portals to other places, making them a perfect spot for a pop-up drive-in theater, which is also a portal to other places.

Santa Monica Airport has gamely doubled as an under-the-stars cinema over the last couple of years, thanks to the charming presence of Street Food Cinema.

The movie-loving group has long helmed outdoor screenings, the sort where you could loll on a picnic blanket while watching, but it moved into drive-in movies a couple of years back, when indoor theaters temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

And after taking a short hiatus over the 2021 holidays, the plane-adjacent drive-in will be back, starting in mid-February 2022.

And on the fizzy, film-fun schedule? So many award-winning favorites, new classics, and feel-good comedies.

"La La Land" will dance just days after Valentine's, on Feb. 19, while "Encanto" will brim with Bruno sightings and Casita-cool magic on Feb. 26.

Other films soon to unspool under the sky include "Coming to America," "The Sandlot," and "Purple Rain."

The cost per car? It's $20, and each individual in the car will need a ticket (they're $8 each).

And while there isn't a traditional concessions stand, food trucks will be present at each screening.

If you're hoping to jumpstart the drive-in joy earlier than mid-February, look to Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, which will welcome Street Food Cinema the weekend before Valentine's Day for a host of adorable, amour-drenched delights and spunky Galentine's-themed flicks.

More info on that engagement? Turn your heart eyes in this direction now.

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