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The Fate of Milwaukee's Pop-up Drive-ins

Posted on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 1:52 PM

Theater photo Copyright © 2020, SVJ Designs, LLC. All rights reserved.

As the coronavirus pandemic closed theaters across the country, drive-in movie theaters were the first to reopen this summer. For areas that haven't seen a traditional drive-in for many years, the answer came in the form of pop-up drive-ins, where vinyl screens were stretched across the sides of buildings (either shuttered movie theaters or even WalMarts) or LED message-board style video boards were erected in parking lots.

As the summer wanes and some theaters are reopening, what will happen to these outdoor movie spots?

According to a recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (see the Read link), the popups at two Milwaukee, Wisconsin area Marcus Theatres will not be showing movies. The screen at the Marcus South Shore Cinemas in Oak Creek was damaged by wind, and the local municipality did not renew the temporary permit for the Marcus Majestic Cinema of Brookfield.

However, the Milky Way Drive-In in Franklin is continuing to show movies on its video board and plans to keep going as long as possible.

While these popup drive-ins weren't the same thing as a traditional drive-in movie theater, with its larger screen, playground, etc. they were a great idea to bridge the gap caused by an unfortunate situation.

Thanks to reader Ron H. for passing this along!

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