To celebrate the finale of HBO original series 'Lovecraft Country', HBO and Giant Spoon pulled out all the stops to create an immersive 'Lovecraft Country' drive-in experience at LA’s Paramount drive-in last night.
One of the most impressive aspects is this full 1950’s era radio station complete with fake ads in between record spinning that Giant Spoon produced. Visitors were completely immersed in a narrative world the minute they drove through the gates.
Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, the teams conceptualised a series of immersive drive-in experiences as a nod to the time period, travel aspects, and the incredible journeys the characters take in the series. When Covid-19 became a reality, the teams hit pause on the immersive screenings and regrouped to develop a thoughtful plan to execute a Covid-safe event. In the meantime, HBO partnered with local drive-ins throughout the country, bringing the series on a road trip to key markets for episodes one, six and eight in Covid-safe outdoor environments in D.C., Chicago and Newark.
The finale event last night, produced by Giant Spoon, introduced immersive components including a Lovecraft Country FM radio frequency, custom snacks from a contactless concession, and surprise elements.
This marks the fourth time the HBO and Giant Spoon teams have worked together, having created SXSWestworld at SXSW 2018, Bleed #ForTheThrone at SXSW 2019, and Westworld’s Data is Destiny experiences at Wired25 and CES 2020.
The first episode of 'Lovecraft Country' has reached more than nine million viewers across all platforms, and it has been the #1 series on HBO Max since its debut in August. The 'Lovecraft Country' season finale airs Sunday at 9pm ET / PT on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.
From the moment guests arrive at the Lovecraft Country drive-In, they’re teleported to the world of the show through immersive elements featured throughout the venue. On the way into the venue, guests will see era-specific billboards featuring ads ranging from 'Folk' Cola to the Lovecraft Tourism Bureau – fake businesses from the era and world of 'Lovecraft Country'. Attendees can tune into the Lovecraft Country FM frequency for the evening – real radio stations – which will feature the stylings of DJ Moonlight, tunes of the time to set the scene, and supplemental ads. Though ads are what could be found at your typical drive-in, they aren’t all as innocent as they may seem.
During the pre-screening, static ads will appear on the big screen and the accompanying audio can be heard over the radio station.
Giant Spoon created over 160 minutes of pre-roll radio content and post-show radio content combined.
HBO and Giant Spoon even created the fictional 'Lovecraft Country Safety Commission', complete with logo and official seal, so guests can be alerted to in-world announcements over the radio and be reminded to wear masks if leaving their cars.
What’s a drive-in without snacks? Guests will drive up to the 'abandoned' concession kiosk window (contactless) where a customised lunch box filled with goodies will mysteriously be waiting for them.
Guests will also have their photo taken by our photographer before heading to their designated parking space. Once they reach their spot, the previews begin. There will be safety reminders (stay in your car, wear a mask), and pre-screening advertisements for in-world brands and companies. But the show doesn’t stop there… on the way out, guests will pass by a group of spellcasters (actors) in the midst of a mysterious ritual.
Nearly half of the production materials for the drive-in have been sourced from BIPOC owned companies.
Covid-Related Safety Measures
The HBO and Giant Spoon teams have removed contact touchpoints from the experience. Not only is this Covid friendly, but also works seamlessly to fit the show's nature. The teams have taken the following measures and precautions, including but not limited to:
- Contactless check-in over custom intercom
- Contactless delivery of self-contained/enclosed concession kit with snacks and drinks (so no getting out of your car to get snacks)
- Covid compliance officer onsite throughout the event and load-in/out
- Covid-trained set medic
- Covid-trained sanitation crews throughout the event and load-in/out
All staff screened upon arrival, following LA County’s Covid-compliance guidelines for both closed sets and drive-in theatres.