Aiea, Hawaii: Nostalgic Couple Giving Back the Outdoor Drive-Inn Movie to Locals

he movies will be shown on an inflatable screen, viewable by 100 people on artificial turf and people in up to 500 cars. The concessionaire for Aloha Stadium and a couple who used to watch movies at the old Kam Drive-In theater will put on the first of six free, drive-in movies in the stadium's parking lot this year, beginning March 19.

Leslie and Sal Hernandez will inflate a 40-foot (diagonal dimension) movie screen and show a double-feature of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and "Land of the Lost" at dusk March 19 after the Aloha Stadium swap meet closes for the day.

"There's not much you can do that's free anymore," said Samantha Spain, marketing account manager for Aloha Stadium's concessionaire, Centerplate. "Why not re-introduce the swap meet and re-introduce drive-in movies? When we talked to people, there was an excitement there."

Honolulu hasn't seen a drive-in movie since the Kam Drive-In stopped showing films on Sept. 7, 1998.

The Hernandezes are the new, local licensee of a Maryland-based company called Fun Flicks Outdoor Movies that rents out inflatable screens of various sizes for everything from backyard kids' parties to large corporate events.

At Aloha Stadium, the idea is to help re-energize the swap meet by allowing 100 people to sit on artificial turf in the parking lot and hear the movies over loudspeakers after the swap meet closes and the sun goes down.

People in as many as 500 cars will have the option of listening to the movies over their radios.

"We can definitely fit more than 500 cars and 100 people if we have to," Spain said.

Food and drinks will be sold through the stadium's concessionaire.

No other dates have been scheduled beyond an April 2 showing of movies that also haven't been determined, Spain said.

But all of the films this year will be free and "family-fun type movies," Spain said. "If it does well, we are looking to extend it for 2011. The goal is to bring back the drive-in feel to the stadium."

Every day, Leslie Hernandez goes by the old Kam Drive-In near Pearlridge Center, where she and Sal enjoyed too many drive-in movies to count.

They were driving past the drive-in last year when they got nostalgic for the old days and the idea grew to turn their memories into a business.

"We remembered it like it was yesterday," Leslie said. "We said, 'We miss that. We should get that over here again.' "

They searched for drive-in theater business models and came upon Fun Flicks Outdoor Movies.

Nine months ago, they got the license for Fun Flicks Hawaii Outdoor Movies.

Most of their business so far has been focused on kids' parties for movies that already have been released in theaters.

Their license means "we cannot be in direct competition with the movie theaters," Leslie said.

Although the movies may be a few months old, families get a shared experience that's rare today, she said.

The Hernandezes have three children of their own an 18-month-old, a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old.

"Especially for teenagers," she said, "it's sometimes hard to give them something constructive to do. This is definitely family friendly."

Dan Nakaso


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