The Road Ahead : June July 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 26 THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JUL 2014 MAIN IMAGE: TIVOLI DRIVE-IN MEGAN RIZZO PHOTOGRAPHY (MEGANRIZZOPHOTOGRAPHY.COM.AU). YATALA DRIVE-IN. LIFESTYLE | FEATURE THE DRIVE-IN movie theatre, once a staple of Queensland culture and rite of passage for many, has taken a dramatic downward shift in recent years. A spate of closures has rocked the industry and seen the former theatrical powerhouse become a shadow of its former self. Many in the community feared the worst for the aging industry, though, not everything is as black and white as the owners of two of the few remaining drive-in movie theatres across Queensland, point out. Pastor Fred Muys, of the Rivers of Life Christian Church, acquired the Tivoli Drive-in, near Ipswich, in 2003 four years after it had closed down following a number of years of indifferent trading. Pastor Muys believes many drive-ins shut their doors as they could no longer compete with the growing industry of multiplex cinemas. "The high capital cost to establish and maintain a drive-in, property and rising land values means that multi- cinema complexes are generally a much more profitable use of capital," he said. "The Tivoli Drive-In covers more than eight hectares and, in metropolitan areas close to where the people live, that type of land asset has been eyed by developers for residential or senior housing villages." These days, drive-in movie theatres are scarce, requiring movie goers in the community to travel long distances in order to partake in the unique and nostalgic experience, however, the effort is worthwhile, according to the pastor. "Whilst we screen the same movies as the sit down movie theatres, we offer a completely different, family night out movie-going experience. We are less expensive, incorporate added features -- full café, playground, jumping castle and markets. It's an environment where you can enjoy the latest movies with your pet dog lying at your feet, your children enjoying the fun of sitting in the back of the car or rugged up in a blanket, where you don't have to turn off your mobile phone, and you can quietly move about during the movie if your legs get cramped." Peter James Sourris, owner and operator of the Yatala Drive-in, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, mirrors the pastor's sentiment and believes drive-in theatres offer a movie-going experience like no other. "There are fewer drive-ins than there were in the heyday of the 1950s, but the ones left remaining are more popular than ever before," he said. "Whether it's just you and your loved one snuggling up to each other in the backseat of your car, having all your buddies crammed into every inch of available car space, or renting a convertible Thunderbird to recapture the feeling of days gone by, a night of drive-in movies will be a night of memories lasting a lifetime." What memories those have been. Mr Sourris said they've seen everything at the Yatala drive-in, from 'marriage proposals on the big screen, candlelit dinners under the stars, girlfriends sneaking in the boot of their boyfriends' car to too many steamed up windows'. lights, camera, drive-in action STORY NATHAN TORPEY MANY BELIEVE DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATRES ARE A THING OF THE PAST. BUT IS THAT REALLY THE CASE?