Hollywood Gothique
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Mutants, Bill & Ted face the music on the big screen

New movies debut in outdoor venues, which also offer opportunities to revisit old favorites.

Los Angeles walk-in cinemas remain closed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic; nevertheless, fantasy film fans will be able to see The New Mutants and Bill and Ted Face the Music on the big screen – along with many other films, old and new – thanks to outdoor screening events, including a handful of old-school drive-ins still in operation.

Both films open tomorrow, August 28. Bill and Ted Face the Music will get a simultaneous video-on-demand release, but The New Mutants will be available only in theatres. The problem with this theatre-only release is that sitting in a large room with lots of strangers remains risky despite precautions taken by cinema-owners. Extra time between shows to clean screening rooms is of little utility when Covid-19 transmission occurs largely through respiratory droplets and aerosols. The real issue is breathing the same air as the rest of the audience for two hours in an enclosed space. Until the rate of infection slows and/or a vaccine is developed, the only sensible solution is outdoor screening.

Fortunately, the Greater Los Angeles area offers several options:

The New Mutants will run at the Pasadena Rose Bowl through September 14, where admission is $35 a carload. It will also appear at the Paramount Drive-in, in Paramount.

Bill and Ted Face the Music opens with an 11:15pm preview tonight at the City of Industry’s Vineland Drive-In, which charges $10 per adult.

Both are scheduled to appear on double bills at the Mission Tiki Drive-in in Montclair, though not with each other: The New Mutants shares the screen with Iron Man; Bill and Ted Face the Music is partnered with Spider-Man: Far From Home. Admission is $10 for adults.

Now that the damn has broken, expect other new titles to show up at Los Angeles Drive-Ins. Mission Tiki Coming Soon list includes Antebellum, Wonder Woman 1984, the Candyman remake, and Tenet.

The Southland’s drive-ins have been showing previously released movies for months, since Hollywood stopped releasing new titles when the pandemic shut down walk-in cinemas. Older titles remain in the mix at Mission Tiki and Vineland Drive-In. The Roadium Open Air Market & Drive-In also offers older films on weekends.

In addition, to actual drive-ins, modern digital projection technology allows outdoor screenings in several other venues around Los Angeles, many of which present ongoing series worth checking out.

My Valley Pass offers its San Fernando Valley Summer Drive-In series, which includes a double bill of Batman and Terminator 2 on September 12 in Westfield Fashion Square. In October they will present their San Fernando Valley Halloween Drive-In.

Sony Pictures Drive-In Experience, running in August and September at Sony Studios, includes Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Men in Black,  and Jumanji: The Next Level. Unfortunately, most screenings are sold out.

Street Food Cinema’s Mulholland Drive-In Series is current at King Gillette Ranch in Malibu, where it is screening such films as Jurassic Park, Coco, and Get Out. We expect some outdoor Halloween screenings from them in October, though none are scheduled yet.

The Late Night Drive-In series at Andaz Hotel will screen The Man Who Fell to Earth with David Bowie on October 10.

Rooftop Cinema Club, which screens films outdoors at Level DTLA and NEUEHOUSE, has gone on hiatus, but The Montalbán’s Rooftop Movies series is showing such genre titles as Murder in the WoodsPan’s Labyrinth, and Bladerunner. We expect more horror this October as part of their annual Rooftop Screams series.

Perhaps the most exciting title currently on screen in Los Angeles is Peninsula, the 2020 sequel to Korea’s mega-awesome Train to Busan. Peninsula, screens Saturday at 11:30pm at the Vineland Drive-In. We plan to be there. Will you?

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.