The Mary Pickford Theater is taking the silver screen outdoors.
Cathedral City city council approved the drive-in's temporary use permit Wednesday night.
"For us this really is a make or break," said Ted Hane, general manager of the theater. "We need to be able to survive."
The Pickford has been closed for the majority of the pandemic. Hane said the theater is struggling with a major loss of revenue.
"We're well on into month 6 now – the zero's just keep coming," he said. "At some point enough is enough."
The drive-in is slated for a vacant lot just south of city hall. It will have an approximately 30-foot-high movie screen, and the audio will be transmitted through people's car radios. Up to 51 cars are expected to be able to enjoy movies per night.
"We've seen blow up screens and things that we really didn't think were going to work, and we've kind of finalized what we think will be our best," Hane said.
Cathedral City councilmembers said painstaking measures have been taken to keep people safe – like requiring each person in the car to have a seat, and making sure everyone has a mask.
Hane said seeing a movie is an outlet people have been desperately missing, with no end of the pandemic in sight.
"Really its an outlet to escape kind of reality, whether you're having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month. But we're all in 2020 and man, do we need an outlet very badly."
Snacks will be served using a pre-ordering system.
The Pickford expects setup to take about three weeks.