Johnny Rockets, the Jack Rabbit Slim’s of real life, is apparently getting into the movie business. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that the burger chain is partnering with Indiana-based USA Drive-Ins to revive the decaying American institution of the drive-in theater. Together the companies plan to open 200 locations by the year 2018, nearly doubling the number of drive-in theaters in the U.S. (There are currently 300 operating drive-ins, down from 4,000 in the late ‘50s.)
On the one hand, the theaters will probably be annoyingly, aggressively retro-themed, and many will reportedly have a Johnny Rockets drive-through on the premises because that won’t be distracting at all. On the other, you will be able to text or look at Facebook during the movie in the comfort and privacy of your own car, where your fellow patrons will not see you and therefore not hate you quite so much.
However, the real question is, if drive-ins are going to become just another homogenized corporate experience, what will the drive-in movie of the 21st century look like? Will Verizon Vixens be the new Night Call Nurses? Perhaps a double feature of Don’t Answer The iPhone and The Snapchat Massacre? Faster, Grumpy Cat! Kill! Kill!, presented by Lifetime?