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Newark Moonlight Cinema: NJ’s First Black-Owned Drive-In Theater

by Lareina Cornista
drive in theater newark

The pandemic forced many public spaces to temporarily close, including movie theaters. So where can we go to watch movies we love and enjoy life like we used to? While cinemas around the country are slowly starting to reopen, drive-in theaters have made a huge comeback as a form of entertainment. They’re not only convenient, but safe. New Jersey’s first Black-owned drive-in theater, Newark Moonlight Cinema, recently opened up in Newark on July 24. 

Newark Moonlight’s owners—husband and wife duo Siree and Ayanna Morris—fulfilled their dream this summer by opening up a drive-in theater in their hometown. Ayana, who is a filmmaker, first had the idea of starting a drive-in theater as a way to showcase her own documentary. 

With a goal of highlighting Black actors, actresses and fellow filmmakers, the outdoor theater showcases everything from recent releases to classics such as “Black Panther” and “Training Day.” 

Newark Moonlight Cinema is located near the Bears Baseball Stadium. The theater itself is a pop-up establishment. It will remain open through October 4 and screens films Fridays through Sundays at 9 p.m. 

What Can You Look Forward To?

At 7 p.m., you can enjoy two hours of relaxing with your friends and family before the movie begins. Guests are always more than welcome to watch the sunset while waiting. The cinema also offers a variety of concession foods, everything from hot foods to fountain drinks, for under $8.

For everyone’s safety, tickets must be purchased online. Children under the age of four are free. The cost for children between the ages of four and 12 is $8 and adult tickets are $12. Movies are displayed on a 55-foot screen and the lot can accommodate up to 350 cars per event. Guests can relax in the comfort of their cars. They utilize their vehicle’s speakers as their own personal sound system.

Why You Should Visit Moonlight Cinema Today

This theater is the only Black-owned and operated drive-in theater in the state and has quickly become a Brick City hotspot. Ayana and her husband created Newark Moonlight Cinema with hopes of cheering up their community during these unprecedented times. Their hospitality makes the drive-in theater an experience you won’t want to miss before it closes October 4.

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