“We aren’t getting new product,” Stornelli said. “We have had a lot of retro movies, but it hasn’t made up for what would have been a normal year.”
The Sunset has shown three prerecorded concerts this summer taped for drive-in audiences only, something Stornelli said her theater can build on in the future.
While it has been a trying year, there’s also been a silver lining for the drive-in industry, she said.
“It might not have been great for profitability, but it’s been great for exposure,” Stornelli said. “It has given a new value to drive-ins and made them versatile beyond the expected movies.”
Stefanon, the owner of the Silver Lake Twin, said, “There is nothing that has ever come close to what has happened this year. There have been many, many new faces because of Covid-19.”
Besides movies, the Silver Lake has had weddings, graduations and live and prerecorded concerts.
“It can’t really make up for the summer blockbusters we normally have, but it’s a good substitute,” Stefanon said.
The drive-in is part of an entertainment complex that includes the Charcoal Corral restaurant, an ice cream shop, pizzeria, arcade, playground and miniature golf. The other businesses have helped make up for lost movie revenue, Stefanon said.