FILM buffs craving a return to the cinema will be able to enjoy movies on the big screen this summer without breaking social distancing rules – by borrowing from stylish 1950s America.

Drive-in cinema events are being planned for Blenheim Palace and Henley, allowing movie-goers to take in classic feature films in a social gathering – without leaving their cars.

The Luna Drive-In Cinema, which comes to Blenheim, in Woodstock, from July 6-19, will see viewers in at least 150 cars a time treated to screenings of classic comedies and romances, family favourites, thrillers, singalongs and recent releases.

The programme features Back to the Future on July 6, Romeo + Juliet on July 7, Moulin Rouge! on July 8, The Devil Wears Prada on July 9, Rocketman on July 10, Dirty Dancing on July 11, Pretty Woman on July 12, Joker on July 14, Sister Act on July 15, The Rocky Horror Picture Show on July 17, Grease Sing-Along on July 18 and Reservoir Dogs on July 19.

Films will start at 9.30pm

Organisers promise state-of-the-art sound and visuals, with the country’s highest definition outdoor screens and a new in-car digital sound system, with wireless speakers handed out which do not drain car batteries.

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Cinema goers will still be able to enjoy popcorn and other movie treats by either pre-ordering food and drink or requesting it by phone from their cars. Refreshments will be delivered by staff on roller skates and scooters.

The event is one of only four announced with other events at Knebworth, Warwick Castle and the home of Saracen’s rugby club, Allianz Park in Hendon, London - and is expected to replace Luna’s previous summer programme of films in stately homes and parks, including a three-day run of films at Blenheim planned for August, and a similar event at Waddesdon Manor, between Bicester and Aylesbury.

Banbury Cake:

Luna Cinema founder George Wood, said: “Since 2008, when we first started putting on outdoor cinema events, I’ve been asked countless times ‘why not expand into drive-in screenings?’.

“My answer was always that they lacked the sociable, communal quality of open-air screenings, as the audience were cocooned in their cars. We were also unsure of the quality of the sound experience when running through an FM frequency into the car radio. Fast forward to the era we are currently living in, when social distancing is the ‘new normal’, and drive-in with its immediate separation from other audience goers, is the perfect solution to get people back to the big screen.

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“Not only that but we are confident we have cracked the sound with an incredible in car wireless solution. We’ve managed to make every aspect of the event fully compliant with social distancing regulations, from the way the tickets are scanned through to the provision of food and drink. Audiences can attend our drive in screenings with confidence and return to one of the things we’ve all been missing most in lockdown – enjoying a great film on a giant screen under the stars.

“We plan to commence open air cinema screenings as soon as it is safe to do so, when the official advice allows, but in the meantime, we can’t wait to welcome audiences for a fantastic drive in cinema experience.”

Tickets will cost £29.50 per car for two people for off peak screenings, and £35 per car for peak screenings. Additional occupants will be charged £5 each.

Additional occupants will be charged £5 each. VIP tickets are priced at £39.50 for matinees, and £45 for evenings, giving movie buffs a space in the front three rows for two people in one car.

See lunadriveincinema.com

Henley will see a three-day Car Park Party of cinema, comedy and karaoke from July 9-11.

The event is billed as a socially distanced reimagined Henley Festival – which was initially cancelled, along with the town’s Royal Regatta, as a result of the lockdown.

It will open with a Comedy Store event on the Thursday, with acts to be announced, followed by a night at the movies on the Friday featuring Mamma Mia and The Greatest Showman. The festivities will be rounded off on the Saturday with a sing-a-long concert from the Massaoke Band bringing two performances to the evening with A Night At The Musicals and Back To The Eighties – all to be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of revellers’ own cars.

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Festival chief Nick Mattingley said: “We are thrilled to host the first Car Park Party at our normal festival location. We are working closely with industry professionals and our local authority to make sure that Car Park Party is in-line with the latest social distancing measures, giving the highest level of reassurance to attendees so that they are able to sit back, relax, laugh and sing their hearts out.

“In a year when Henley Festival Trust has no income from the festival we’ve had to fall back on innovative ideas to fill the gap. Car Park Party absolutely fits the bill, and all from the safety of your own car.”

Tickets are £35 per car from henley-festival.co.uk.