E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, filmed in Porter Ranch and Northridge, screens on Friday, Aug. 4.EXPAND
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, filmed in Porter Ranch and Northridge, screens on Friday, Aug. 4.
Universal Pictures

A Pop-Up Drive-In in the Valley Is Showing Valley-Filmed Movies This Summer

UPDATE: The location of the pop-ups has changed. All four films will now screen at Lake Balboa, 6335 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys. Dates and times are the same.

In 1996, the Winnetka 6 Drive-In movie theater in Chatsworth was demolished; two years later, the Pacific Winnetka 12 Multiplex went up in its footprint. According to the Valley history enthusiasts at My Valley Pass, the Winnetka 6 was the last drive-in built in the San Fernando Valley and the second-to-last to be torn down. Today the drive-in closest to the Valley is either the Paramount Drive-In or the Vineland Drive-In in City of Industry. Either is a hike, which is a shame given the Valley's prominence in the cinema of the late 20th century, when drive-ins were enjoying their last gasps of popularity.

For two weekends this summer, My Valley Pass' series San Fernando Valley Summer Drive-In Nights is reviving the drive-in experience and celebrating the Valley's '80s cinema heritage with pop-up screenings outside of the Pacific Winnetka theater, where the Winnetka 6 once stood. As the release says, "Each film was carefully curated for its connection to the San Fernando Valley; from filming locations in neighborhoods such as Northridge, Granada Hills and Pacoima or iconic landmarks such as the CSUN Matadome and the Cowboy Palace Saloon, each movie is linked to the history of the Valley and represents a moment and time in its development."

The four films they've selected are E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Fri., Aug. 4), Back to the Future (Sat., Aug. 5), The Karate Kid (Fri., Aug. 11) and La Bamba (Sat., Aug. 12). Each screening features live music themed to the films (for instance, The Flux Capacitors play the Back to the Future pop-up) and regular L.A. Weekly contributor Jared Cowan (who, it so happens, wrote this comprehensive piece on Back to the Future filming locations) will host Q&As with people associated with the films before the screenings. Martin Kove, who played bad karate guy Kreese in The Karate Kid, will be at that screening.

The screenings are 20 bucks a pop ($60 for a car of four) and they're recommending tickets be purchased in advance before they sell out.

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