Drive in BH… Cinema at the Bay

In the Kingdom of Bahrain, many businesses coped with COVID-19’s economic challenges with a strong dose of creativity. This was particularly true for those in the hard-hit recreation sector.

One standout idea was the launch of Bahrain’s first and only drive-in cinema. Created and operated by Pico and Mukta A2 cinemas for an initial period between July 2020 and January 2021, it would be located centrally in Manama on a site of approximately 15,000 sq. m. at Bahrain Bay.

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Solution

Pico originated the idea of drive-in as well as taking responsibility for the overall design concept and venue production. As part of their effort, the team liaised with government authorities to gain the necessary approvals and permissions.

With ‘touchless’ being a key feature, all transactions were contactless and integrated into a mobile app developed by Mukta A2 Cinema. Tickets were sold via website on a per-car basis, with a maximum of four occupants per vehicle. Each ticket also included a food-and-beverage package, with orders delivered to cars by tricycle. Further COVID-safe arrangements included adequate spacing between cars.

The unprecedented nature of the project meant that sourcing the 21x9 metre cinema screen was a major task. The Pico team not only helped to procure this essential item from an American vendor, but also installed it with online assistance from the United States. The site as a whole was arranged so that the screen was obscured to all but ticket-paying patrons.

As built, the cinema’s design was endearingly retro, as manifested through such elements as signage, lighting, the screen façade and exit arch, and various boldly coloured structures. Adding to the cinematic experience was a programme of live pre-shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The 15-20 minute performances by musicians and comedians were accommodated on a special stage built on the site by the Pico team.

Results
  • Full house on opening day
  • More than 2,200 bookings (one car per booking) in less than a month
  • Approximately 20 films screened in less than a month
  • 80 cars attending VIP/media launch

Testimonials

“Drive-in BH is much more than a nostalgic idea or retro way to see movies, it is also one of the safest ways for communities to gather...We are thrilled to partner with Pico group to create this shared and unique cinematic experience and to bring people together.”
– Mr. Akshay Bajaj, COO, Mukta A2 Cinemas ME

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