CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After two years, drive-ins in the Capital Region are back in full force and seeing business as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. NEWS10 checked in with local drive-ins to see how the summer season is going.
“The good old days are here again,” said Ed Caro, co-owner of the Malta Drive-In.
Caro said he is very happy about how business at the Malta Drive-In is springing back after two years. He said 2020 was an odd year when the pandemic fist hit, and he was expecting a recovery in 2021 but that didn’t happen. “Last year was horrible,” said Caro.
This year, Caro said business is great and people didn’t forget about drive-in movie theaters. He said a good string of movies, such as “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” are drawing people in.
Bill and Darci Wemple, along with their children, run both Ozoner 29 in Broadalbin and El Rancho in Palatine Bridge. The owners said last summer was not as strong as pre-COVID business, but this year is looking up.
The owners said movies like “Top Gun: Maverick” and ” Jurassic World: Dominion” led to an upswing in business. They said Ozoner 29 usually sees an increase in business due to tourists returning to their summer homes around Sacandaga Lake.
“These ‘must see on the big screen’ movies combined with some extra events and private parties are giving us real hope that the drive-in has survived another set of speed bumps,” said the owners.
The owner of Hathaway’s Twin Drive-In Theater in North Hoosick, Duane Greenawalt, said business has been great this year. He said 2020 wasn’t the best year and 2021 saw a significant drop in business but was still a good year.
This year, Greenawalt said Hathaway’s is back to pre-pandemic levels, as he’s seen a tremendous increase in business. He said this is in part due to the great movies, but also because the weather has been great on the weekends. “Nothing kills a show like rain,” said Greenawalt.
Jericho Drive-In in Glenmont also said business has been great this summer. The drive-in attributes this business to great movie releases and great weather on the weekends so far this season.
Owners Roger and Sharon Babcock of the Hi-Way Drive-In Movie Theatre in Coxsackie said business has been fair this year. They said the price of everything has gone up, but they try to adjust their prices and remain a good choice for families.
“Gas prices might affect the long distance customers a little more. Everything has gone up in price. Food, paper goods, utilities, trash removal. You name it has probably gone up,” said the owners.
However, the owners said drive-in theatres are still a great entertainment value for customers’ “hard earned dollar.” The owners said Hi-Way Drive-In has four screens, so they can offer a variety of movies and pairs for almost all audiences.