Drive-In won’t open this year


Two future options: Go digital or sell

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, there are no movie titles Thursday on the Wilmington Drive-In’s sign along North Lincoln Street (State Route 134). It will not be open this summer.


WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Drive-In won’t be open for the 2016 summer season, Chakeres Theatres, Inc. announced.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that at this time we won’t be able to open the Skyborn, Wilmington or Melody Cruise-In Drive-Ins for the 2016 season,” the company posted on its Facebook.

Chakeres Theatres, Inc. General Manager Mark Booth said the lack of 35 mm films is the reason the company is unable to operate the Wilmington location this season.

Company officials had planned on operating the Wilmington and other two drive-ins using the traditional 35 mm film products, for this year anyway.

“But as we got closer to summer and were looking into availability, we were looking at such a small number of titles it didn’t make any sense to open the doors,” Booth said.

The bottom line, he said, is if a business enterprise can’t get the product, there’s no reason for the customer to come.

As for the future, there are two basic options that will be considered for the Wilmington site and the other two drive-ins, he said.

One option is to see whether it’s feasible to convert them into digital drive-in cinemas and open again in the 2017 season. The alternative is to look at the possibility of marketing the facilities, added Booth.

“At this point, we haven’t made any decisions whether to sell or actually make the conversion. Both options are on the table still,” Booth said Thursday.

“We are evaluating the costs and potential of all [three] locations,” said the general manager.

He complimented the patrons and people of Wilmington.

Chakeres Theatres, Inc. is headquartered in Springfield, Ohio.

Chakeres’ Melody 49 drive-in theater in the Brookville, Ohio area is open and showing movies, according to the company. It was switched to a digital operation over the past year, Booth said, calling it “an extremely expensive proposition.”

In a public post on Facebook concerning the decision not to open the Wilmington Drive-in, Jackie Hiles wrote, “I love the drive in. I can handle the increased admission cost. You basically get two movies for the price of one. Plus, you are able to bring your own snacks in.

“It’s been a fun, family activity for years now,” wrote Hiles.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.

On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, there are no movie titles Thursday on the Wilmington Drive-In’s sign along North Lincoln Street (State Route 134). It will not be open this summer.
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_drive_in_p_f-1.jpgOn the eve of Memorial Day weekend, there are no movie titles Thursday on the Wilmington Drive-In’s sign along North Lincoln Street (State Route 134). It will not be open this summer.
Two future options: Go digital or sell

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]

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