The big question for area moviegoers has finally been answered: The Big Island Drive-In Theatre will open for another season.
While a reopening has been confirmed, current owner Bill Leefe says he doesn’t know when it will happen.
Work is underway to convert the drive-in to digital from the old film-based system.
“They are just getting things ready up there,” says Leefe says, who has owned the drive-in for more than 30 years.
As for the exact opening date, Leefe says it will depend on the progress of the system update.
In years past the drive-in has opened around the end of March. Now, already into June, the movie-going experience for area residents will be shortened by at least two months.
But Leefe says with the updated system, the drive-in will be able to show newer movies sooner.
“The big difference is that you’ll be able to get your movies way quicker,” he said, adding it could be as early as two weeks after city theatres have shown the film.
Leefe’s son, Kirk Leefe, added that movies are no longer being printed on film – or not nearly as much as they had been in years past – and all movies will now be stored on hard drives.
“It’s not as cost-effective,” said Kirk, comparing film to digital.
“So now everything will come on a hard drive and you just plop it in,” said Bill.
Big Island and the Stardust Drive-In in Morden, which is also making the switch to digital, are the only two
operational drive-ins left in Manitoba.
Killarney’s Shamrock Drive-In closed this year due to the high costs of the system update, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.
The Big Island Drive-In Theatre opened in 1957.