The rise of the drive-in theater in 2020 continues. Not only have these relics of the past helped to keep the box office alive this year but now they may help some movies qualify for The Academy Awards. Indeed, thanks to a new amendment, movies will now be allowed to use dive-in screenings to meet the requirements for an Oscar-qualifying run.

According to a new report, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to allow drive-in screenings as part of theatrical qualifying release. Movies can also still be released in traditional theaters but, given current circumstances, that is trickier than it would have been in previous years. The most recent two-part addendum to the rules reads as follows.

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"1. Films which are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service or other broadcast may qualify by making the film available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film's streaming/VOD release or broadcast. 2. Films may qualify with a traditional theatrical release, completing a seven-day run in one of six qualifying cities (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta), screening at least three times daily, with at least one screening between 6 pm and 10 pm daily. Additionally, drive-in theaters in these cities will now qualify as a commercial venue, however, the screening requirement will be adjusted from three times daily to once daily. Films that have a theatrical release are not required to submit to the Academy Screening Room within 60 days, it is optional."

Earlier in the year, the Academy had amended its rules to allow for streaming movies to qualify. Typically, a streaming service like Netflix would still need to give a movie, like Roma for example, a qualifying run in theaters. Studios now have multiple options when it comes to positioning a movie for a possible Oscar run. It is expected that these changes will be temporary but, given how much uncertainty is looming when it comes to the future of the movie business, long-term changes will certainly be needed.

This also further cements a miraculous return to prominence for drive-ins. Prior to this year, the theaters were, at very best, a niche market and a relic of the past. But when most hard-top theaters were forced to close their doors back in March, they became a haven for the industry and moviegoers alike. For months, drive-ins propped up the box office and have now become a way for indie movies to succeed in the marketplace, as well as a way for bigger releases to further capitalize.

As for what movies will make up Oscar season this year, that is tough to say. Some early contenders seem to be Da 5 Bloods, The Trial of the Chicago 7, On the Rocks, Mank and News of the World. The 93rd annual Academy Awards are currently set to take place on April 25, 2021. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott