MTN Nigeria announced on its social media pages on Friday, July 24, that it was giving out tickets to see movies at a drive-in cinema over the weekend.
Since cinemas nationwide are not yet open for business due to the pandemic, the other option is to have drive-in cinemas that allow people to sit in their cars and watch the movies on a central screen. It eliminates the need for facilities like chairs and air conditioning that would have been required in a physical movie theater.
MTN worked with Play Network Africa, Blue Pictures Entertainment and Transcorp Hilton in Abuja to put the weekend cinema experience together. The tickets were sold at N3,000, N5,000 and N7,500 for one person, two persons and three persons respectively.
Will drive-in theaters become the new normal?
It would seem likes drive-in cinemas are making a debut in Nigeria. MTN’s weekend escapade could be its own test run of what an actual open-air cinema experience will be for people, and of what it will take to successfully pull them off. But this is certainly not the first.
In May, Charles Okpaleke, delivered the first drive-in cinema experience to viewers with the screening of the movie, ‘Living in Bondage‘. The screening occurred at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
Okpaleke’s screening was followed by another drive-in experience in Abuja when Silverbird screened the Legend of Inikpi on Sunday June 7 and is making plans to replicate it in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
Genesis Cinemas embraced the drive-in model in order to give viewers an opportunity to watch movies, although in a different way.
Since March 14 when cinemas shut down due to the COVID-19, there has been a halt in operations, and the drive-in model is proving to be an alternative that does not violate laws of social distancing.
This is not the first time that MTN will provide cinema experience for people, its #MTNCinemaTakeover is one way it has allowed people watch movies for free in cinemas across Nigeria. However, for this last weekend, people paid for tickets while MTN gave some away, differentiating it from its regular cinema takeovers.
Beyond announcing the tickets to the movies, MTN has not made any announcements regarding the drive-in cinema. It could be a one-time move for the telco, or a foray into what might become the new-normal in the coming months.
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