Continental Drive-In reopening

The Continental Drive-In has been closed since 2019 and is scheduled to reopen soon.

Continental Cinemas Drive-In Theater in Wicksburg is being revived under new ownership, although it will keep its familiar name.

Possession of the full-equipped outdoor cinema has already been transferred to VIP Cinemas, which is finalizing the paperwork on the deal. New owners are sprucing up the property to get ready for an open-air flea market and movie showings in June.

Mark McSparin, spokesperson for VIP Cinemas, confirmed the acquisition on Wednesday after passerby’s noticed signage at the property’s entrance indicating a plan to reopen next month.

“When I saw the drive-in for the first time, I was sold on it,” McSparin said. “We’re always looking for opportunities. I think it’s a perfect location for a drive-in — the demographics, the temperature, the atmosphere.”

While the coronavirus spread has stimulated opportunity for drive-in movie theaters, McSparin said his company is “in it for the long haul.”

“I think it’ll be a nice amenity to have opened for the area,” he said. “It’s got a nice atmosphere and we want to make it budget-friendly and family friendly.”

Ticket prices will be $6.99 for adults and $2.99 for children for double features.

McSparin said VIP Cinemas is aiming to have the largest screen open by the end of June, and other screens will open as more first-run movies are released.

Meanwhile, its two-story concession and projector building is being updated while workers perform repairs and maintenance on the property, which has been vacant since Jan. 1.

McSparin said its concession options will be plentiful, offering hot dogs, hamburgers, fried mushrooms, tenderloins, fish sandwiches, and others in addition to classic theater treats. It will also begin serving shaved ice.

The movie theater company is adding the drive-in and a Montgomery theater to its portfolio of cinemas across 10 states.

VIP Cinemas has experience owning and managing drive-in theaters and is exploring opportunities on maximizing the opportunity at the 16-acre site.

Its first flea market will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 6.

Admission and vendor spaces are free for the entire month of June.

McSparin said the theater group is also in talks with a concert promoter to have drive-in concerts. The promoter plans to stream live shows on the outdoor screens with performances by Garth Brooks and Katy Perry and other notable musicians.

McSparin did not reveal how the purchase price, but it was listed for $300,000 on Trulia and $800,000 on United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association’s website.

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