After a years-long delay, Fox’s (now the Disney-owned 20th Century Studios) The New Mutants has finally arrived in theaters under extremely unusual circumstances. Indeed, the film is now playing in the theaters that happen to be open in select states as of this weekend, but one of the few places to see it in Southern California is at Pasadena’s famous Rose Bowl Stadium, where a temporary screen has been erected in the sports arena’s parking lot.
Last night my wife and I attended the first show of The New Mutants at this unique venue, and I found the experience to be an interesting workaround to the restrictions currently in place that prevent crowds from gathering indoors.
We arrived at the Rose Bowl about 45 minutes before showtime to find a long line of cars waiting to enter the event, but once the caravan began moving it was a fairly smooth process to advance in, have our tickets checked by attendees, receive an informational flyer, and be directed to a spot in front of the moderate-sized screen. At first I was a little worried about the other guests around us interfering with our enjoyment of the movie, as some of them had ignored the instructions to turn off their headlights or were milling about around their cars, but security enforcement team members rode around on bicycles to ensure that everyone followed the rules.
A pair of DJs warmed up the crowd with energetic music, on-screen trivia, and even a headlight “wave,” and before the film began two of its young stars– namely Blu Hunt (who plays Danielle Moonstar) and Henry Zaga (Roberto da Costa)– came out on stage to introduce the feature presentation.
Once the movie began, we were able to settle in as comfortably as possible (my beat-up Toyota Prius isn’t the roomiest car in the world) and enjoy the show. Our view of the screen was clear and unobscured and the audio played crisply over the car radio after tuning in to the indicated station. For the most part the activity around us was kept to a minimum and there weren’t too many distractions from the entertainment. Snacks were available (though we didn’t purchase any) and restrooms were accessible via the Rose Bowl’s main concourse.
If given the option in the future, after everything has hopefully returned back to normal, I can’t say I would go out of my way to choose a drive-in movie theater as I will likely always find a standard cinema– or my own living room, for that matter– to be a far more comfortable viewing experience. But considering the state of things right now, The New Mutants Drive-In was an adequate alternative, especially considering Disney isn’t exactly prepared to go all-in on delivering all of its blockbuster movies directly to its consumers via streaming services like Disney+ or Hulu. Like Disney and the many theater owners around the country, I’m not quite ready to see the communal filmgoing experience die off completely, so I’m happy to see steps like this being taken to move things back in that direction.
The New Mutants is playing at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California from now through Sunday, September 13. For more information and to purchase tickets, be sure to visit the event’s official website. For Laughing Place’s review of The New Mutants itself, please read Mike Mack’s write-up of the film.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.
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