Fallbrook, California: Outdoor Movies at the Drive-In Make a Comeback in Fallbrook, California

Outdoor Cinema in Fallbrook, California The owner of a local company that hosts drive-in movies at the Ingold Sports Park overlooking south Fallbrook said last week that the number of cars that show up for each outdoor movie screening has grown steadily since opening night in April. J.J. Snyder's business, Hollywood Outdoor Movies, screened yet another big-budget Tinseltown film on Saturday night: "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in 3D. The next scheduled drive-in movie is Sunday, June 14, when the punch lines of Will Ferrell's "Talladega Nights" will fill the soccer field at the sports park for a sea of onlookers watching from the comfort of their cars. "We've picked strategic dates centered around holidays, where people have three-day weekends and they're looking for less expensive entertainment," Snyder said of the screening schedule, which generally skips a week between showings. "Plus, we had to work with the park to get a schedule that would work for them." Because of film licensing laws, Snyder said his company cannot charge admission, but rather requests a "suggested donation" of $25 per vehicle. The setup consists of an inflatable screen, a projector casting the picture overhead from 300 feet away, and the atmosphere is similar to old-time drive-in theaters, Snyder said. The audience may tune their radios to a certain channel to listen in, and the film starts just after dark. "Last time, I think we had 60 cars, and our max capacity is 180 cars or so on the field," Snyder said. "We're obviously looking to hit that number. The first week, it was slow, but the next week, it doubled in size." He said his company, which is based in Fallbrook and employs 17 people during the peak summer season, does events every weekend throughout the state, usually coordinating screenings for schools or special community events. The screen inflates using a single fan, and is 40 feet wide by 22 feet tall when full. "It is an actual motion picture screen ---- we don't use the cheap stuff that blows over at (winds of) about 10 or 12 mph," he said. "Ours withstands winds up to 40 mph." In Fallbrook, the makeshift drive-in theater has met with good reviews. "I absolutely love it. I think it's one of Fallbrook's best additions," said Mike Mroz, who runs the Lone Wolf Garage with his father in downtown Fallbrook and has gone several times to the drive-in just east of Fallbrook High School. A classic car buff, Mroz handles public relations for the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club, and said Friday that the ambience of drive-in theaters is a unique ---- and disappearing ---- staple of mid-20th-century history. "The drive-ins bring back that nostalgia in the car world, because anyone who drove during the '60s and '70s remembers the drive-in theater," he said. Mroz said a lot of classic car owners showed up for the May 24 screening of "Grease" at the Fallbrook drive-in. "The front row looked like an O. Winston Link picture," he said, referring to the photographer who famously captures steam railroad engines and other classic scenes in the 1950s. "It is amazing getting the chance to sit in your own car and eat and drink, not having somebody sit behind you, bugging you," Mroz said. "The experience is well worth it." Snyder said he charges $1,400 to $1,800 to do shows for cities and schools, and that the Fallbrook drive-in is different from his usual gigs because profit is measured by attendance. "From a production-cost perspective, we have not profited yet because there's a lot of start-up costs and weekly costs we have to pay," he said. "I'm hopeful more people will come, the more the word spreads." For more information about drive-in movies in Fallbrook, visit www.ingoldsportspark.net. The park is at 2551 Olive Hill Road. Call staff writer Tom Pfingsten at 760-740-3516. Related links: Hollywood Outdoor Movies Drive-In movie schedule at Ingold Sports Park Source: "Drive-in movies proving a popular draw at sports park" by Tom Pfingsten -North County Times. Read full article at: http://www.northcountytimes.com/articles/2009/06/07/news/inland/fallbrook/z83c84544ec1ba4c3882575cb008156ff.txt#nctcomments.

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