Thursday, October 22, 2020

Marcus Theatres and Milky Means Drive In discuss future of outside theaters



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Months in the past, on the onset of summer time and amid the continued coronavirus pandemic, out of doors film theaters generated loads of buzz within the Milwaukee space. However their future stays unsure, now that many film theaters have reopened. 

Though the 2 parking lot cinemas that Marcus Theatres operated in Wisconsin this summer time — in Brookfield and Oak Creek — usually are not in operation anymore, the Milky Way Drive-In in Franklin plans to function all through the autumn and into the vacation season. 

“We went into it with no intent of continuous to do it without end, however after the success we had, we stated we might actually wish to,” stated Mike Zimmerman, CEO of Roc Ventures, which owns Milky Means Drive-In. “So long as it isn’t only a drive-in, we are able to make it work.”

Zimmerman stated they plan to make the theater extra of an experience-driven occasion within the coming months. 

However with summer time coming to an finish, Rolando Rodriguez — chairman, president and CEO of Marcus Theatres — stated Marcus is specializing in the indoor movie show expertise for now. 

Rodriguez did say it was a “excessive chance” that Marcus would proceed the out of doors viewing idea subsequent 12 months. 

“I by no means say by no means as a result of our customers are going to inform us what they will be searching for,” Rodriguez stated.


Each Rodriguez and Zimmerman stated clients flocked to the parking heaps after plans for the out of doors idea have been introduced.

Milky Means Drive-In opened Could 22. Marcus Majestic Cinema in Brookfield opened its theater every week later, on Could 29. 

Rodriguez stated the idea was nostalgic, well timed and entertaining. It additionally was a protected expertise, as automobiles have been spaced aside from one another. 

“I feel the out of doors drive-in idea offered an important outlet for customers to have the ability to go away their houses, spend time with their households, on the consolation of their automobiles,” Rodriguez stated. 

Zimmerman additionally stated the nostalgic really feel of seeing a film open air was particular for households.

“In the event that they went to see ‘Jurassic Park’ as youngsters, and now they’re in a position to share that have with their youngsters … all these little tales after they add up, it creates a sort of compelling portfolio of enjoyable household tales,” he stated. 

Zimmerman stated Milky Means was promoting out exhibits for the primary few weeks. 

However as extra leisure choices and experiences opened all through the summer time, gross sales began to sluggish a bit. 

In order that they made some transitions. They stopped displaying films each evening of the week, and began to point out double options on Tuesday nights. 

Zimmerman additionally stated they met with a 3rd celebration to barter with main studios who personal the movies they needed to point out, so they might prepare a flat payment for the movies. This helped possession flip a revenue on displaying the movies. 

Rodriguez stated the curiosity in car parking zone theaters was additionally excessive for his or her two Wisconsin areas firstly.

“Whereas it wasn’t as sturdy as the start, it nonetheless stays pretty good and has loads of good attendance to it,” Rodriguez stated of the attendance in latest weeks. 

Rodriguez additionally stated the variety of tickets offered was typically associated to what films have been proven. 

“If it was one which had a extremely excessive stage of demand, they’d see a peak once more,” he added. 

Brookfield denial 

The city of Brookfield, which initially permitted plans for the drive-in theater at Marcus Majestic Cinema, denied Marcus’ request to increase the drive-in theater in August.

City Supervisor John Schatzman stated there have been circumstances for Marcus to solely present G, PG or PG-13 movies. 

“Sadly they did not honor their settlement and confirmed not one, however two R-rated films virtually instantly, which have been totally viewable from Interstate 94,” Schatzman stated in an e-mail. “Due to their failure to honor their settlement their momentary allow extension software was denied.”

The car parking zone theater on the Marcus South Shore cinema has additionally stopped displaying movies. Rodriguez stated the display screen at that location was ripped by excessive winds. 

Planning forward 

Zimmerman stated there are plans to program some occasions on the Milky Means Drive-In primarily based on seasonal exercise within the upcoming months. 

Roc Ventures hosts the haunted home The Hill Has Eyes every fall. Zimmerman stated Roc may do a “30 days of Halloween” kind occasion for the vacation, in connection with the haunted home. 

“Not simply throw the film up, however really make it a bit interactive, and perhaps have some decorations, and make it an expertise,” he stated. 

He additionally stated Roc Ventures may do one thing related for Christmas. 

“It is a bit extra difficult with the climate, however we’ll give {that a} shot, too, if Halloween proves to achieve success,” he added. 

Others nonetheless going

The “drive-in” idea has remained a scorching commodity for a lot of space companies and teams. 

The Parking Lot Theatre is a community-based, pop-up drive-in film and live performance expertise aimed toward Milwaukee neighborhoods.

The concept is for the occasions, staged in parking heaps within the metropolis, to faucet native meals distributors, performers and even filmmakers to deliver folks collectively for leisure in a method that is protected and in tune with the social-distancing wants of the pandemic. 

The primary pop-up drive-in was held Could 29 in a car parking zone at 701 W. St. Paul Ave., Milwaukee, and included a live performance by native musician Joe Wray and a displaying of the 1985 movie “The Goonies.” Greater than 100 folks, in 45 automobiles, took within the present. 

The Parking Lot Theatre additionally just lately hosted a screening of “Barbershop” within the Bronzeville neighborhood of Milwaukee. 

And “Rock the Burbs 2020: A Drive-In Benefit Concert” is deliberate for Sept. 19 at The Sharon Lynne Wilson Heart in Brookfield. Hen Wire Empire will play through the occasion, and meals vehicles and drinks might be obtainable for buy on website. 

RELATED: Smaller movies come to theaters, including ‘Broken Hearts Gallery’ and ‘All In.’ But ‘Tenet’ isn’t going anywhere.

Christopher Foran of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed to this report. 

Evan Casey could be reached at 414-403-4391 or Comply with him on Twitter @ecaseymedia

Our subscribers make this reporting attainable. Please think about supporting native journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at


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