The Wexner Center for the Arts takes over South Drive-In for a summer series of favorites from the ‘80s

Wed, May 26, 2021

Monthly screenings kick off June 6 with a Zoom Family Program 

In April, the Wexner Center for the Arts partnered with South Drive-In for an in-person presentation of the 25th anniversary of Ohio Shorts. The event was such a hit that the Wex is returning to the outdoor venue with a free series of three popular and critically acclaimed films of the 1980s, presented monthly beginning Sunday, June 6. 

“As we work to begin showing films in person again, the South Drive-In has provided us with a fun opportunity to bring Wex programming out into the community,” notes Film/Video Director David Filipi. “We’re really excited about the three films we will be sharing over the course of the summer, and it’s hard to beat seeing any film at a drive-in!  We hope folks will join us for three great nights of films under the stars—and also visit us at the Wex once we’re back to in-person screenings.”

The series debut is a Zoom Family Program full of extras for patrons to enjoy online and on-site, presented with support from CoverMyMeds. “We’re thrilled to be involved in this family-friendly screening,” says Kate Bauer, Community Engagement Manager for CoverMyMeds. “The center’s staff shares our passion for creating positive experiences for our community, and we can't wait to share this opportunity with local moviegoers and our neighbors."

The features scheduled for July and August will each be preceded by an Ohio-made short film; selected shorts will be announced closer to the screening dates.


The program

Sunday, June 6: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Doors open at 8:30 PM, film begins at approx. 9:15 PM

Steven Spielberg's timeless film follows the unforgettable adventure of a lost alien and the 10-year-old boy (Henry Thomas) he befriends. Imitated countless times but still singular, E.T. introduced audiences to Drew Barrymore and Reese’s Pieces, and had kids around the world saying "E.T. phone home." (115 mins., DCP, rated PG for language and mild thematic elements)

For this Zoom Family Program, there will be a companion reading list created by partners at Columbus Metropolitan Library, along with additional film recommendations, a coloring page, and crafty how-to videos. These will be shared in advance at On site before the film, there will be free Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, craft bags for kids with project instructions, and a help table staffed by the center’s Learning & Public Practice team. Attendees are strongly encouraged to RSVP here by June 2 to reserve a spot.

Thursday, July 15: Escape from New York (1981)

Doors open at 8:30 PM, film begins at approx. 9:15 PM

John Carpenter’s dystopian cult favorite looks ahead to the distant future of... 1997, when a crime-ridden US of A has converted the island of Manhattan into one big, maximum-security prison. When Air Force One crashes there, master criminal Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is given 24 hours to rescue the president. The memorable cast also includes Lee Van Cleef, Isaac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, and Donald Pleasance as the president. (99 mins., 4K DCP, rated R)

Thursday, August 12: Do the Right Thing (1989)

Doors open at 8 PM, film begins at approx. 8:45 PM

Spike Lee’s modern classic portrays a vibrant, predominantly African American Brooklyn neighborhood on the hottest day of the summer. Against an orchestral score by Bill Lee (Spike’s father) and numerous rap hits including Public Enemy’s original song “Fight the Power,” racial tensions build to a climax that could’ve been ripped from today’s headlines. The filmmaker also stars, leading an illustrious ensemble that includes Danny Aiello, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, Samuel L. Jackson, and more. (120 mins., DCP, rated R) 


South Drive-In, central Ohio’s only dedicated drive-in cinema, is located at 3050 S. High St. Admission to all screenings in the Wex series is free, but space is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Complete details about the films to screen will be available at Information about the venue, including COVID-19 protocols in place, is available at


Downloadable Assets

Support for the Zoom Family Program is provided by CoverMyMeds.

Film/Video programs are made possible by Cardinal Health and Kaufman Development.

Additional support is provided by the Rohauer Collection Foundation.