Go back to the movies with a free pop-up drive-in at the University of Idaho

If you've missed going to the movies, there's an old-school business model that could make that possible again.

This week, Moscow's Kenworthy Theater and the University of Idaho will be converting the parking lot of the school's activity center into a temporary drive-in theater, and they'll be hosting free film screenings over the next few Saturday nights. Gates will open at 7 pm, and the movies start an hour later.

Things kick off on May 16 with last year's musical comedy Yesterday, about a guy who wakes up in a world without the Beatles. Following that is the beloved high school comedy Mean Girls (May 23), 1992's period sports film A League of Their Own (May 30) and the action spectacle Mission: Impossible — Fallout (June 6).

Drive-ins may be seen as an antiquated model of moviegoing, but they're being embraced again in these times of socially distancing. Having reached its peak in the 1950s and '60s, the drive-in was eventually knocked from its peak by mall multiplexes and air-conditioned suburban theaters. Only about 300 drive-ins are still operational in the U.S., but many of them have seen a boom in business while theaters around the country sit dark.


The owners of Washington's five remaining drive-in theaters have petitioned the governor's office to allow them to reopen, but they all remain closed at the moment. The closest working drive-in to Spokane is Colville's Auto Vue Drive-In, which has been in operation since 1953. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.

In the meantime, Moscow's makeshift drive-in will be running on a first-come, first-serve basis. The lot allows for just 140 vehicles, so folks are encouraged to arrive early. The film audio is broadcast via FM radio; concessions will be available, but you're welcome to bring your own popcorn and snacks.

Screen on the Green @ University of Idaho

Thu., Aug. 13, Sat., Aug. 22 and Thu., Aug. 27
  • or

About The Author

Nathan Weinbender

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.