Over these last few weeks how we’ve watched movies with our families has definitely changed. Our movie theaters are closed. New releases have gone straight to TV. It’s definitely been different. But what if we could bring back New Jersey drive in movies? What if we could have the theater experience safely in our cars?
Would you go? Would you take your kids?
Gatherings of vehicles, such as drive-in movies or church services, are not a violation of my order prohibiting mass gatherings, as long as all participants remain in their cars. If vehicles are closer than six feet apart, then all windows, sunroofs, or convertible tops must remain closed.Governor Phil Murphy May 13, 2020
With Governor Murphy’s quote drive in movies in New Jersey are back!
New Jersey Drive In Movies
As the warmer weather approaches families will be looking for safe outdoor activities to do with kids in New Jersey. Drive in movies can provide a fun way to get out together while also keeping your distance from others.
It’s quite possible that there will be
three FOUR SEVEN ways to see New Jersey drive in movies this summer: our permanent drive in theater, pop up drive in theaters, and traditional but one night only township drive in movies. Keep reading for the details and stay tuned because this is a developing story.
Who is running the New Jersey Drive In movie theaters?
Delsea Drive In
Jude and John DeLeonardis have been running the Delsea Drive In for 16 years. It is the only permanent drive in movie theater in New Jersey, and one of less than 10 in the country.
Back to the Movies Drive In
PJ Windle has started a business, Back to the Movies Drive In, to bring movies to parks and parking lots throughout New Jersey. He plans to offer pop up drive in theaters at multiple spots across New Jersey.
Karpool Cinema is a collaborative effort between The Eagle Theatre, Kathedral, and Hammonton, New Jersey to bring drive in outdoor movies to Hammonton. After the success of the first weekend, they now have a much larger screen and two movies will be shown on alternating
Boxcar Drive in Movies
Boxcar Drive-in Movies has partnered with local towns in New Jersey to bring back drive in movie theater experiences. And to make the night complete, they are partnering with local restaurants to provide carside delivery of dinner specials and snacks.
Demarest Farms Drive In Movie Nights
MidMay, with the Governor’s announcement that drive in movies are allowable events in New Jersey, Demarest Farms announced they would be the first to operate as a temporary drive in movie theater in Bergen County.
Ramsey movie theater, announced on their Facebook page on May 18, 2020, that they are making arrangements to host a pop up drive in movie theater.
Different New Jersey Townships
Many New Jersey towns regularly offer free outdoor movies during the summer. Even before this current crisis the towns below made their outdoor summer movies extra special by allowing residents and guests to drive in to them. Here’s hoping these towns will be able to do so again this summer.
- Berkeley Township
- Florham Park
- Gloucester Township
- Little Egg Harbor
- Ocean Township
- Seaside Heights
Are drive in movies safe?
New Jersey drive in movie theaters plan to practice social distancing.
- Movie goers will be to watch movies from inside their own cars
- Port-a-johns will be spaced out.
- Guests will be expected to keep their windows, sunroofs, and convertible tops closed if they are 6 feet or closer to other cars.
- Patrons can order food by phone from food trucks or the concession stand. They can pay with their smart devices or over the phone. Food can be delivered directly to cars or picked up at safe designated spot
Will the New Jersey Drive In movie theaters be able to open this summer?
With the Governor’s most recent directive it looks like Delsea Drive In and Back to the Movies Drive Ins have the authorization they need to open their drive in theaters before the summer starts. Management from both entities will work with local government officials to make sure their operations are in line with Governor Murphy’s restrictions.
With that, we also hope local townships will be able to host summer movies again, even if they have to do so with social distancing measures in place.
May 15, 2020 update, we just learned of the Karpool Cinema that is showing outdoor movies at the Kathedral.
May 21, 2020 update, we learned that Demarest Farms and Boxcar Drive In movies will also offer pop up drive in movie theaters in New Jersey this summer. Ramsey Theatre is also working to create an outdoor movie schedule and determine a location.
When will the drive in movies start in New Jersey?
Back to the Movies Drive Ins planned to start the third week of May, so long as they have the approvals needed to do so and the 8 pm New Jersey curfew is lifted. There are not any additional details on their website or Facebook page as of May 17, 2020.
The Delsea Drive-in planned to open for the season on March 20, 2020. When Governor Phil Murphy issued his stay at home order it forced the immediate closure of the theater until further notice. In early April, the DeLeonardises pressed forward in efforts to be allowed to open for his year. With the update from Governor Murphy, the Delsea Drive In will start showing drive in movies on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
New Jersey townships are putting together their drive in movie schedules now. Once published we’ll start adding them to our Calendar of Events.
The Karpool Cinema started showing outdoor movies this past weekend on a trial basis. There were showings on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. We believe it will be back.
Demarest Farms will have outdoor movies beginning June 8, 2020 thru August 29, 2020! It looks like movies will be available Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Boxcar Drive In Movies will kick off their drive in movies on Friday, May 29, 2020. So far dates have been set for additional movies in June.
Ramsey Theatre has not announced their schedule for drive in movies.
Are there drive in movies near me in New Jersey?
Back to the Movies has received commitments to hold drive in movies in:
- Johnson Memorial Park in Jackson, New Jersey. Tentatively scheduled for early June.
- Oak Tree Lodge in Wall Township, New Jersey
- An additional 12 locations are in talks with Back to Movies.
Delsea Drive In is a drive in theater in Vineland, New Jersey.
Delmarest Farms will hold drive in movies at their farm at
244 Wierimus Road in Hillsdale, New Jersey.
Boxcar Drive In movies will be held in these New Jersey towns.
- Boonton Township
- Franklin Lakes
The Karpool Cinema is at the Kathedral Event Center at 499 South Egg Harbor Road, Hammonton, New Jersey. Their drive in movie theater is in the parking lot.
We believe Ramsey Theatre outdoor movies will be at a location in Ramsey, but the specifics have not been announced.
Again, these are the townships that have hosted drive in movies in New Jersey in the past. We’re linking to the past event listings because if these events come back for 2020 these links will take you to them.
- Barnegat Drive in Movies
- Berkeley Township Drive In Movies
- Blackwood Drive in Movies
- Brick Drive in Movies
- Bridgewater Drive in Movies
- Florham Park Drive in Movies
- Gloucester Township Drive in Movies
- Little Egg Harbor Drive in Movies
- Ocean Township Drive in Movies
- Robbinsville Drive In Movie
- Seaside Heights Drive in Movies
See a Movie at New Jersey Drive In Movie Theaters
We’re optimistic, that if New Jerseyans do their part there will be drive in movies this summer. With that in mind here’s what you need to know about New Jersey drive in movies.
One thing is clear. Regardless of where you go or whether your ticket is free or not, reservations will likely be required to ensure that an event does not exceed capacity.
What will the movie showtimes be?
Back to the Movies Drive Ins movies in New Jersey will start at the same time at each location.
- 5 pm matinee movie for kids
- 8 pm showing of a PG-13 movie
Delsea Drive In first features start around dusk (civil twilight time). Second features start after a 15-30 minute intermission following the first feature.
Demarest Farms is starting their movies at 8:30 pm.
Karpool Cinemas showtimes are 9 pm. Gates open at 8 pm.
Boxcar Drive In Movies plans to open gates at 7:30 pm, and movies will start at 8:15 pm.
Ramsey Theatre has not announced showtimes.
Townships generally start their movies at dusk, between 8 and 8:30 pm.
How much will the drive in movies cost?
Delsea Drive In
The Delsea Drive In charges per person. Ticket holders get two movies, sometimes three. (Prices listed on their website as of May 3, 2020.) The Delsea Drive-In Theatre currently has two (2) screens and shows a minimum of a two features on each screen during regular operating days. The admission price covers one’s attendance at either of the two screens. Switching between screens is not permissible without the purchase of another ticket and if space allows for the switch.
- General Admission (4 years of age and older) – $11.00 + tax
- Children (3 years or younger) – FREE
The Delsea Drive In will sell movie tickets directly through their website. Find showtimes and selections on the website. Box Office Opens at 6:00 PM Friday 5/22, Saturday 5/23, Sunday 5/24 and Thursday 5/28 for the current week’s showings. While they have capacity for 600 cars, tickets will be limited during the first few weeks.
Back to the Movies
Back to the Movies charges the towns or property owner a flat fee. They will also charge each car $20 to $25.
Tickets can be purchased through the company’s website.
Township Drive In Movies
Generally, towns holding summer drive in movies do not charge an admission fee. That may change this year if your township is hosting a movie with Back to the Movies. Before heading to any drive in movie, check the admission price first. When it’s an event listed on our Calendar of Events the admission price will be listed in the event description.
The cost is $25 per carload. This is a contactless event. Tickets are available online only. Tickets are available online only at www.kathedral.com and must be printed and presented upon arrival to gain entry. Vehicles will be parked ten feet apart and guests must stay in their vehicles, but may roll down the windows and open their rear hatches.
Boxcar Drive In Movies
While all the currently schedule Boxcar Drive In movies are sold out, it looks like admission was between $20-$26.99 per car. There are additional showings that have yet to be scheduled.
Ramsey Theatre has not announced ticket prices or policies. Tickets will be sold online at a new website.
Demarest Farms Drive In Movie Nights
Demarest Farms admission fee is $25 per car. There is an additional convenience fee with the online ticket sales.
Can you buy food?
Back to the Movies Drive In will have a food truck with online ordering and contact less delivery. Preordered snacks will be ready as guests arrive. It’s not clear if guests will be allowed to bring in outside food.
Delsea Drive In has a concession stand where you can place an order and pay for it with a smart device. Patrons will not be allowed to enter the restaurant/concession building. All food and beverage orders must be placed and paid for online using a credit or debit card. Patrons will be notified on the smart device that was used to place the order when the order is ready. All patrons can pick up their orders at the concession building patio. Outside food is not allowed in unless a guest has purchased a food permit.
“We will keep our concessions closed as far people walking in for counter service,” she said. “We are going to do exclusive online ticketing, online food and beverage ordering, we are going to stick with that for the rest of the season.”Jude DeLeonardis
Boxcar Drive in Movies will be working with local restaurants to provide carside delivery. Guests can place an order through the Boxcar app.
Demarest Farms Concession stand opens one hour prior to movie start time and closes at 9 pm. When coming to the concession stand make sure to wear a face covering and practice social distancing. All food and beverage orders must be placed and paid for online using a credit or debit card. All patrons can pick up their orders at the white tent.
Ramsey Theatre will have a concession stand. Guests will be able to make purchases online.
When local townships host drive in movies in New Jersey, residents can usually bring their own food or buy food from snack booths set up for the night. It’s unclear what the plan will be for this year.
Karpool Cinema allows guests to bring their own snacks and drinks. There will be no concessions stand.
Are there bathrooms?
Back to the Movies will have portable bathrooms spread out in a socially distant manner.
Delsea Drive in has bathrooms that they intend to closely monitor.
The Karpool Cinema does not have restrooms available at this time, but they may be added in future weeks.
It’s not clear if Boxcar Drive in Movies or the Ramsey Theatre will have restrooms available to guests.
Demarest Farms will have port-a-potties or restrooms available.
Townships differ on how they handle bathrooms. Some parks may or may not have their bathrooms open. Some may have port a potties available.
How do drive in movies work?
Movies are projected onto a large screen visible by all cars. Cars are parked in rows facing the movie screen.
Guests can listen to the movie a few different ways.
- FM radio station in their car or brought with them
- Listen on big speakers that project sound throughout the lot
- Bluetooth speaker or earbuds (not all drive in movies will have this capability)
Are you allowed out of your car?
At most drive in theaters there is enough room allowed for each car that you could sit in chairs at your parking spot. This year, cars will be expected to stay 6 feet apart. Movie goers should not be leaving their cars other than to pick up food from a pick up window or use bathrooms.
What movies will be played?
With regular movie theaters being forced to close, it’s still too soon to tell if it will have any affect on how studios license movies for use in these community settings. Here is how it usually works.
Delsea Drive In Theaters typically plays new releases.
The Delsea Drive-In Theatre predominantly shows PG and PG-13 rated movies and caters to a “general” audience.”G” rated movies, although seemingly produced in lesser quantity, are shown as well.Delsea Drive In
“R” rated movies are shown periodically dependent upon prevailing viewer interest or popular demand and, whenever possible, are reserved for the second and/or third feature slots.
Back to the Movies plans to show classic films. If they are able to get a license they will show new releases as well.
Boxcar Drive in Movies looks to be showing older movies.
Demarest Farms Drive In Movie Nights has their full schedule of drive in movies available at demarestfarms.com/drive-in. Tickets are available online. It’s recommended you buy your tickets early as many dates have already sold out.
Local townships tend to show a mix of classic movies and newer movies that were released in the previous year.
This first weekend, Karpool Cinema showed Toy Story 4. This weekend they are showing newly-released movies.
How can I keep my kids busy before the movie?
Get them a coy of the Jersey Family Fun New Jersey Kids Activity Book. Yes, it’s a shameless plug for our first book BUT with 30+ pages of activities it will keep the kids busy as you wait for the movie to start. Buy it now!
How can I learn more?
- Keep following Jersey Family Fun. We’ll post updates here and list some drive in movie theater events on our Calendar of Events.
- Visit the Delsea Drive in Theatre website.
- Visit the Back to Movies Drive In website.
- Visit the Eagle Theatre Facebook page.
- Visit the Demarest Farms website.
- Visit the Boxcar Drive in Movies website.
- Visit the Ramsey Theatre website.
Need more ideas for safe activities for kids in New Jersey?
Take a look at these articles on safe things to do in New Jersey with kids.
- New Jersey Gets Creative with Curbside Pickup Kits
- New Jersey Bakeries Selling Cupcake & Cookie Decorating Kits
- 100 Chalk the Walk Ideas to Inspire You
- 10 Ways to Make Family Walks Fun
- New Jersey Coloring Pages and Activity Sheets
- New Jersey State Parks