National Geographic was looking to partner with a local event production company to help them launch the Premiere of “Genius: Aretha” in Detroit. It is the newest addition to their GENUIS series which focuses on the stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators. Keeping Covid-19 restrictions in mind, the challenge was to host a series premiere at a drive-in venue and still capture the celebratory aspects of all that NatGeo was hoping to offer for their in-person audience.

The team at Corporate Production Services excitedly stepped forward and took on this challenge. With safety precautions at the forefront, the team aimed to provide a memorable experience for all guests. The chosen venue was the Monroe Street Drive-In located in the heart of Detroit. It was an ideal location that was able to host plenty of guest cars and still remain within the Covid-19 limitations. The city skyline served as the natural backdrop of the main stage that boasted custom branded graphics. Upon arrival, each guest car entered through the notable golden frame setting the stage of NatGeo’s vibrant brand and personality. In memory of the late Aretha Franklin, pink feather boas were handed out to guests and a 1956 classic pink Cadillac at the entrance helped set the mood. Since the concession stand was not open, each guest car was given a gift box that was packed with gourmet movie-theatre snacks and refreshments from local food vendors such as Motor City Popcorn, Bon Bon Bon, Detroit Cookie Company and Germack Co.

Once the sunset faded away, the main screen glowed brightly and the opening song transmitted through the car radio that allowed guests to enjoy the evening’s program in the comfort of their cars. The program included a live performance from Cynthia Erivo, who starred as Aretha Franklin, which was live-streamed from Los Angeles. If you could not attend in-person, the premiere was hosted online for remote guests to view and enjoy across the country.

The result was a one-of-a-kind, drive-in movie experience for guests to enjoy in the safety of their cars, while celebrating the premiere of NatGeo’s “GENIUS: Aretha” right in the heart of Ms. Franklin’s hometown, Detroit.

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