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EghtesadOnline: Earnings from the first-week screening of Ebrahim Hatamikia’s “Exodus” at Tehran’s Milad Tower parking lot’s drive-in cinema hit 708.7 million rials ($4,295) by May 7.

For the first time after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the country’s only drive-in theater opened on May 1 with the first-run screening of “Exodus”. 

A total of 160 cars with two people bought the movie’s 400,000-rial-tickets ($2.4), filling the site for each screening. 

Owj Arts and Media Organization, the project organizer, continued the screening of the movie through May 11, thanks to the positive reception from moviegoers, Mehr News Agency reported. 

Workers sprayed disinfectants on cars that lined up each night here after buying tickets online for what is called the "Cinema Machine" in Farsi. They tuned into the film's audio via an FM station on their car radios.

"It was very fascinating; this is the first time for this happening, at least for people of my age," Behrouz Pournezam, 36, who watched the film along with his wife, was quoted as saying by AP. 

"We are here mostly for the excitement to be honest; the movie itself didn´t matter that much. I didn´t care what movie it is or by whom or which genre."

The film by director Hatamikia focuses on cotton farmers whose fields die from saltwater channeled by local dams. The farmers drive their tractors to Tehran to protest the government.

Moviegoer Atefeh Soheili was glad just to enjoy entertainment outside her home.

"Now I´m sitting here with clean hands and if I want to eat something or relax I don´t need to worry about distancing from other people," she said.

A drive-in theater is a form of cinema structure consisting of a large outdoor movie screen, a projection booth and a large parking area for automobiles. Within this enclosed area, spectators can view movies from the privacy and comfort of their cars. 

With the widespread closures of cinemas as part of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, drive-in movie theatres, where social distancing is guaranteed, have been enjoying new-found popularity around the world. 

“Exodus” had its first online screening on April 12 amid the pandemic with the ticket priced at 120,000 rials (72 cents). 

According to the local video streaming service provider Filimo, the film was available for online streaming for six hours after purchase. It had been previously planned to be available for 24 hours, but Filimo reduced the time to prevent, but to no avail, illegal copying and release of the film.


Project Tehran Ebrahim Hatamikia Milad Tower Cinema