PEI

Film studio policies prompt expansion at Brackley Drive-In

The owner of the Brackley Drive-In says he'll soon be installing a second screen because some film studios require minimum run-times of certain movies.

Bob Boyle, owner of the drive-in, says some film studios dictate weeks-long runs

The Brackley Drive-In currently has one screen, but a second one will be ready for 2020. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The owner of the Brackley Drive-In says he'll soon be installing a second screen because some film studios require minimum run-times of certain movies — sometimes several weeks.

"Most people, they want to see the movie when it comes out," said Bob Boyle. "So we saw that this was an issue ... a problem that we were going to have to come up with a solution."

Boyle said it's an issue for a seasonal business like the drive-in, with just one screen.

"For our customers, they come here weekly. Many of our local customers are from Prince Edward Island," Boyle said. "By playing the same movie over a period of three weeks, then we're not able to provide them that same experience." 

Boyle said he didn't want to have to make the change,  but he's optimistic the work and investment will be worthwhile.

Work on a second screen has started. The land beside the first screen has been cleared and a projector has been set up. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

A second screen will mean being able to show more movies and run films they wouldn't run otherwise.

"That's the main thing, is by having the second drive-in, it will sustain the drive-in to be able to last for many more generations."

Unique screen design

Boyle estimates the cost may be as high as $400,000. That involves clear cutting land, importing a new projector and building a new screen.

"The cost is one part. The other part was the knowledge. Nobody's built a drive-in since maybe the 60s or the 70s ... so that knowledge just kind of disappeared here on the Island," he said.

Boyle has spent the last year doing research and visiting different drive-ins, as far away as Texas, to figure out the best way to build a modern drive-in screen.

The land next to the existing screen has already been cleared. The plan is to mount the second screen on a structure made of stacked shipping containers, which Boyle hopes to have ready for the 2020 season.

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