What’s so great about an outdoor movie theater? Quite a bit if you ask Johny Thomas, general manager of the US 23 Drive-In Theater in Mundy Township. For instance, viewers get:
- Two movies for the price of one. Admission – priced at $8 per adult and $6 per child – includes two feature films.
- Space. You can talk with friends, calm a crying child or laugh as loud as you want, all within the comfort of your own car.
- Nostalgia. For those who used to frequent the drive-in with their families, it brings back memories and allows you to pass on the tradition to your kids and family.
But the biggest draw – Thomas says – is being outside.
“You can bring out your lawn chairs and enjoy the summer weather,” he says. “I’ve seen people bring a mattress and sit in the back of their pick-ups. They get creative.”
And while tradition lives on at the 1950s-era venue, it also has a few modern touches. In 2013, the venue swapped out its 35mm film reels for digital projectors, a transition that has resulted in a brighter picture and sharper sound.
“Being outside, the ambient light could be an issue, especially with dark scenes,” Thomas says. “It’s much easier to see now.”
Movies start at dusk, although Thomas recommends arriving as early as possible. Gates open at 7:30 p.m., and spots are first-come, first-serve.
Currently, the theater is open on Fridays and Saturdays but will extend its hours to seven days a week starting Memorial Day Weekend. It will resume its weekend-only schedule Labor Day Weekend, before closing for the season in mid-October.
This week, the venue will also open tonight (Thursday) for an early-release showing of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Thomas also recommends a visit to the concessions stand, which sells everything from burgers and chili cheese fries to root beer floats and freshly popped popcorn. “The food is great, and really, (concession sales) are what keep up open,” he says. “The majority of ticket sales go to Hollywood.”
For more information about the US 23 Digital Drive-in Theater, at 5200 Fenton Road in Flint, call 810-238-0751 or visit www.us23driveintheater.com.
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Note: This post was updated April 30 at 12:30 p.m.