June 2, 2020 / 11:53 AM / 2 months ago

Post-lockdown cinema trip in Portugal is blast from the past

People watch a film inside their cars at the Comiccon festival during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Oeiras, Portugal June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

LISBON (Reuters) - For Manuela Figueiredo, going out with her family to see her first movie after weeks of lockdown was a trip down memory lane. For her 24-year-old son Joao, it was a completely new experience.

They sat two metres (six feet) apart, in separate cars at a pop-up cinema which launched on Monday in a beach area near Lisbon - the latest sign of a revival of drive-in movies as countries emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.

“It’s a bit like going back to the past,” said 57-year-old Figueiredo, reminiscing about her first drive-in cinema experience in Portugal around four decades ago. “We thought it was a cool experience to share with our children.”

Joao, sitting at the wheel of his own car, welcomed something out of the ordinary.

“I had never been to a drive-in so it’s an opportunity to get out of the routine a bit at this point,” he said.

Drivers tuned in on their radios to hear the movie, My Spy, starring former wrestler Dave Bautista, which began when the sun went down in Oeiras, a municipality near the capital Lisbon.

“This is one of the formats we found so people can stay safe, be with friends and family and enjoy good times as we try to return to a new normal,” said Paulo Cardoso, chief executive of Comic Con Portugal which organised the week of showings.

Drive-in movie theatres are seeing a revival in other parts of the world as the leisure industry figures navigate the constraints of the outbreak.

Portugal, which has recorded 32,700 COVID-19 cases and 1,424 deaths, began lifting restrictions imposed during a six-week lockdown from May 4.

Reporting by Miguel Pereira and Rafael Marchante; writing by Catarina Demony; editing by Andrei Khalip, Philippa Fletcher

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