One of Washington state’s last drive-in movie theaters will live on thanks to the generosity of supporters from all over the world.
The owner-operator of the Skyline Drive-In in Shelton, Christopher Mayes, had said he would have to shut down if he couldn’t find $40,000 for a new digital projector.
“Everything is going digital,” Mayes told KIRO Radio’s Rachel Belle. “They’re moving away from the 35 millimeter film that has been used for years and years and years. For theaters everywhere, they need to convert and they need to do that right away.”
Now, it won’t be an issue. Mayes announced the drive-in managed to raise $40,055 from over 500 supporters by the Sunday morning deadline on the fundraising website Kickstarter.
“WE DID IT!” Mayes said on the theater’s Facebook page. “Thanks to everyone who supported and contributed, the Skyline raised the money we need to go digital. Long live the drive-in!”
Beginning May 24, the Skyline will be full time; it opens with Fast and Furious 6 (PG-13) with The Hangover 3 (R).
It wasn’t looking like the show would go on. Mayes said the campaign had only raised about $17,000 by Thursday night, but somehow donations came pouring in as the deadline approached.
While a couple of people made some big donations, Mayes said the majority came from smaller donors as far away as Vermont and even Sweden.
The projector will cost $80,000, and the Mayes plan to buy it soon. The family still needs to raise a few more bucks to pay off the Kickstarter fees and taxes. They’ll be hosting fundraising screenings in Olympia and at the drive-in Thursday night.
The Skyline opened in 1964. It’s one of just five drive-ins still operating in Washington state. Mayes’ family bought it from the original owner in 2005.
“We are committed to continuing the distinctly American traditions of double-features, kids in their pajamas in the backseat, and watching movies under the stars,” he said.