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The Boater's Drive-In: Floating Movie Theaters are Becoming a Thing

By: Scott Way

Boaters are operating under a new normal this season, but that doesn't mean there won't be any fun.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and with boaters hitting the water in record numbers this summer the need to find alternative ways of entertainment has clearly kickstarted some novel ideas.

Paris, France is taking the lead by building an on-water movie theater for boaters to enjoy while social distancing. The theater is coming to the Seine river in the heart of Paris next week and will open with “Cinéma sur l’Eau” -- or cinema on the water -- on July 16th as part of Paris' annual city-run celebration Paris Plages, which creates temporary beaches on the waterfront during summer.

Moviegoers will be able to take in the free screening from 38 electric boats that hold 2-6 people each, thereby allowing for social distancing and ensuring groups stay within family or friends. Suffice to say, you can expect a sellout.

Two movies are set to play on opening night including “A Corona Story,” a short film about the pandemic that won a contest launched by cinema chain Mk2, who also helped organize the on-water event in collaboration with Häagen-Daz.

The second flick is “Le Grand Bain,” a French comedy about a group of men who start a synchronized swimming team. Ice cream, boats, and a movie. There's worse ways to spend a Saturday night.

There's also good reason to believe this will catch on. Not only have similar ideas been utilized in the past, like Ottawa's screening of JAWS on the water last summer, but cinema screens are easy to rent and can be assembled on city/town docks. They can even be assembled on your personal dock if you're feeling festive. For some ingenious Ontario boaters, they've already taken the initiative.

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