Paris Has Floating Movie Theaters, Only Matter of Time Before US Steals the Idea (But Does It Worse)

Photo: Kiran Ridley (Getty Images) 

When the world was put on pause back in the early spring, many people were stuck inside their homes with nothing to do but watch Netflix and literally chill. Businesses were shuttered, restaurants were only doing curbside pickup. As the spring turned to summer, an iconic American staple that was seemingly lost in time returned to prominence. For years, Americans previously stuck at home flocked to drive-in movie theaters. Prior to the summer of COVID, drive-ins seemed like a thing of the past with just over 300 remaining in operation in the whole country. On top of that, bars, restaurants, and even Wal-Marts turned their parking lots into drive-ins. But it was the French, not the Americans, who thought up the idea of the water-based floating drive-in.

In early July, a float-in movie theater was opened called the Cinema sur l’Eau (which means “cinema on the water”) on the banks of the Seine River in Paris. But, since the US is famous for its importing of foreign ideas like The Office and American Idol, it’s not surprising that a floating drive-in is set to open in the U.S.

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“Le Cinema Sur L’Eau” – Paris. An outdoor cinema on water… 38 electric boats and 150 deckchairs filled the banks of the lake Bassin de la Villette. 🇫🇷🥖

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A company called Beyond Cinema is bringing this idea stateside this fall with events planned for San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, Miami, Houston, and St. Louis.

Similar to the Parisian version, the set up will include giant screens showing both new releases and classic films (similar to American drive-ins) located on one side of a body of water. Viewers can rent electric boats that fit up to eight. No word on what they plan to do if people just avoid buying tickets and sneakily paddle up on kayaks or canoes under the cover of night.

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