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Drive-in Openings and Closures of 2019

by Released : 2020-01-09

Drive-in Openings and Closures of 2019

Since the 1970s, there has been a net loss of drive-in theaters ever year.  Simply put, every year since the late 1970’s more drive-ins have permanently closed each year than new ones have opened.  Unfortunately, 2019 was no exception.  Below, we list the drive-ins that have gone dark in 2019 as well as new ones that we gained. 

In 2019, 7 drive-ins (4 in the United States and 3 in Canada) went dark and 3 new (or refurbished) drive-in theaters opened.  Seven was also the number of drive-ins that closed in 2018 as well.  And 2020 is not starting off well as even though we are only one week into the new year, we have already lost one drive-in this year as well.

Here is a list of the drive-ins we lost forever this past year:

West Wind Santa Barbara Drive-in located in Goleta, CA

Originally opened in 1966 as the Santa Barbara Twin Drive-in, it was closed in 1991 and sat dark for almost 20 years until it was re-opened by the West Wind Drive-in chain in 2010.  On April 19, 2019, the West Wind Santa Barbara Drive-in announced they were closing for good. There was no reason given. So now we are listing this drive-in as permanently closed but we hold out hope that it may re-open at some point.

Cascade Drive-in located in West Chicago, IL

Before closing, the Cascade Drive-in was the largest drive-in in Illinois with a capacity for over 1200 cars.  It was a single screen drive-in opened back in 1961.  The drive-in was well loved and well attended.  But on March 15th, 2019, the owner of the Cascade Drive-in announced they would not re-open in 2019 and were being forced to close permanently. The Cascade Drive-in was leasing the land on which it operated and the leased expired and the landowner refuses to renew the lease. Apparently, the owner wanted to sell the land and had been trying for some time.  It is thought that the owner thought it would be easier to sell the land with the drive-in closed.  One note - the drive-in remains intact and there are discussions that they it may re-open.  So there is still some hope, but for now, it remains closed.

Corral Drive-in Theater located in Guymon, OK

The Corral Drive-in was a smaller, single screen drive-in that was just opened in 2009.  On 1/11/2019, the owners of the Corral Drive-in announced they were closing the drive-in permanently. They stated the digital projector needed replaced and the drive-in simply did not make enough money to cover the cost so they were closing down.

Starlite 14 Drive-in Theater located in Richmond Center, WI

The Starlite 14 Drive-in was a large, 500 car capacity, single screen drive-in that opened way back in 1952.  The owners of the Starlite 14 announced that effective September 2, 2019, the Starlite 14 will close permanently. The owners put the drive-in up for sale so there is a chance that someone in the future could buy the drive-in and re-open it. But for now, it appears the Starlite 14 has gone dark for good.

Cine-Parc Templeton Drive-In located in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

The Cine-Parc Templeton Drive-in was a single screen drive-in opened in 1991. It operated until 2019 when the drive-in's owners retired and decided to close the drive-in permanently. But from the death of this drive-in came the birth of another drive-in as the owners of the Cine-Parc Templeton sold their two screens and projection equipment to the Belle Neige Ski Resort located in Val-Morin, Quebec which then opened a twin screen drive-in on their ski resort.

Kingston Drive-in located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

The Kingston Drive-in was a three screen drive-in which was opened in 1966.  It had a large 1000 car capacity.  In September of 2019, the website for the Kingston Drive-in announced that they were closing the drive-in and all three screens were going dark permanently. There was no reason given as to why.

Havelock Family Drive-In located in Havelock, Ontario, Canada

Opened in 2011, the Havelock Family Drive-in was one of Canada's newest, as well as one of its smallest drive-in theaters. But on March 28th, 2019, the owner of the Havelock Family Drive-in announced that he was closing the drive-in because he could not afford to purchase a new digital projector. The owner also announced that he has sold the drive-in and the new owners will be tearing it down. The Havelock drive-in held about 175 cars and is located just outside of Havelock, Ontario. They showed movies nightly from April thru Christmas.

 

But luckily, we did gain a few new drive-ins this year.  Here they are:

Moonlite Drive-in located in West Wyoming, PA

The Moonlite Drive-in is a single screen drive-in that was originally opened back in 1955. But the Moonlite closed back in the early 1980's and sat vacate until new owners purchased it in 2017 and started restoring it. After over 30 years of sitting idle, the Moonlite Drive-in re-opened on Friday, October 4th, 2019. It took them two years from the time they purchased the drive-in until they were able to re-open it because of renovations and obtaining building and business permits. The Moonlite is located in West Wyoming, PA which is about a 30 minute drive outside of Scranton, PA.

Stateline Movie Time Drive-in located in Tabor City, NC

The Stateline Movie Time Drive-in Theatre is a new, single screen drive-in theater that was opened in May of 2019. It is located in Tabor City, North Carolina which is located on the state line between North Carolina and South Carolina. The drive-in is located about 30 minutes north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The owner of the drive-in, Cheri Barnes, did a lot of the work herself including clearing and leveling the lot and building the projector building. Barnes said she opened the drive-in knowing it would not make a lot of money, but hoping she could provide a place for families and kids to come enjoy the movies.  Since opening, Ms. Barnes has posted she is in a fight with the local government over water utilities and the drive-in is now open for free to Friends and Family.  We hope she gets her legal issues sorted out.

Cine-Parc Belle Neige located in Val-Morin, Quebec, Canada

The Cine-Parc Belle Neige is a new twin screen drive-in movie theater that opened in May of 2019. The Cine-Parc Belle Neige is located at the Belle Neige Ski Resort in Val-Morin, Quebec which is about an hour and 30 minute drive north of Montreal. It will be open seasonally and show double features on it two screens. The Belle Neige has an interesting story as they bought their two drive-in screens and their digital projectors from the owners of the former Cine-Parc Templeton which was located about 2 hours away near Ottawa. The owners of the Cine-Parc Templeton decided to retire and close their drive-in. But from the death of one drive came the birth of a new drive-in.

As mentioned, we have already lost 1 drive-in in 2020.  There are also a couple more which are planning to close in 2020.  We are aware of a few possible drive-in openings in 2020 but nothing certain yet.  So let’s hope 2020 turns out to be a great year for our remaining drive-ins and we do not lose any more.

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