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L.A. Beat

Movie Mill presenting drive in movies for summer

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The Movie Mill went back to the past with a drive-in theatre showing of  Back to the Future last Saturday, May 15. The event was so successful that they plan on holding special retro drive in events throughout the summer as long as Mother Nature co-operates.
“We’re really excited. We showed Back to the Future on Saturday and it was really well received,” said Movie Mill owner, Leonard Binning.Weather Permitting, the movie Mill will be presenting drive in movies beginning this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
“It was a lots of fun, social media exploded,” he said, adding audiences enjoyed the experience so much  that  they have  been making requests for future showing.
“Drive in movies bring back a  lot of good memories for people. Ninety-five percent of our requests have been for movies from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” Binning continued, adding his short list for this weekend showings are the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Princess Bride, Jaws and Twister. Pirates of the Caribbean, Grease, Harry Potter, Shrek and Fast and Furious are also possibilities.

“Though we might save Jaws and Twister for later in the summer. After our short list, the possibilities are endless,” he added, noting having a drive in has required a lot of negotiations with not only The AHS,  the city and the movie companies, the latter of whom are a little paranoid about people pirating their movies by trying to sneak their friends into the movies in the trunks of their cars.
He said the AHS have been easy to work with.
“ We have always had a great relationship with the AHS with having showings inside and with organizing the drive in showings,” he continued, adding he can only speculate why drive in experiences in other communities have been shut down by the AHS.

Binning is still finalizing admission and ticket details. So far it looks like admission will be $40 per car. He is working on the details for admissions singles in cars.
“ But we’re also giving you a $15 bag of concession popcorn,” he said, adding there is a 100 car capacity for the showings. All cars must  be six feet apart.
“Because apparently there is a car variant of Covid,“ Binning deadpanned.

 You’ll be able to order your ticket online through and there will be links on Facebook and Instagram.
“The website is your best source for information,” he said.
“It will be a game day decision, because our equipment can handle the wind but it can’t handle the rain, ” he said.

 When patrons check in they will receive an information sheet including the  FM station they can tune into to hear the movie, all the rules that must be followed including no tailgating and no peeking up through open sunroofs. They will also receive a menu offering theatre to car delivery of treats.

“Hopefully your car radios work,” he said also suggesting portable radios.

He is excited about the concession option.
“ You can order online and you’ll be given a number to put in your window and we’ll deliver right to your door,” he said, adding the sightline is great.

“The screen is 32 feet wide and 16 feet tall and it’s 15 feet in the air, so  it’s a great elevation and a great angle,” he said.

 He is surprised he didn’t attempt the drive in idea earlier.
“I don’t want to say it came to me in a dream  but it came to me in the shower,” he said, adding he started pricing property and renting a giant screen and dismissing those ideas for being cost prohibitive before realizing the Movie Mill building is already perfectly designed to fore a drive-in movie screen.

“We‘d like to do this every summer. We’ll take down the screen after the season then put it up again next summer.
“We’re going to do the drive in showing every weekend now and we’re working with the city to do them during the week as well,” he said.
 Of course showtime will bedictated by the weather and the time of sunset.

“We’re really excited,” he summarized, emphasizing the Movie Mill website is the best option for learning the result of the game time decision.

“We’d like to start selling tickets now, but we don’t want to have to do refunds. People drove an hour or more to go to the drive ins in Calgary and Edmonton and they cancelled about an hour before showtime. A lot of people weren’t happy,” he said.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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