DANVILLE, W.Va. — At a time when the drive-in movie theater seemed to be on its last legs in West Virginia, two young Boone County entrepreneurs believe a blast from the past could be a successful business venture in southern West Virginia. Joshua Nelson and business partner Joshua Scott announced plans this week to open a new drive-in just south of Danville this spring.
“There’s a huge need for it in West Virginia. You always hear people saying ‘There’s nothing to do,'” Nelson explained. “My lovely wife and I used to go to a couple of drive-ins. We loved it. It was something we could do on the cheap and we could do with a family.”
The new drive-in will be called the “Silver Screen Outdoor Cinema.” Nelson said most of the movies shown will be somewhat current–but not the very latest releases. He added they will also be family friendly.
“There’s no way you can afford to play just-released movies at a drive-in,” he said. “The rights fees on those are thousands and thousands of dollars. But those slightly older, maybe just out of theaters, we can play.”
Plans are for using the facility for theme nights and other events like a car show with the playing of “Grease” or a biker night and playing the movie “Wild Hogs.” Some of the classics from the glory days of the drive-in may also be shown as the business develops.
The reasons for the demise of some of the classic drive-ins in West Virginia has been the change in technology. The conversion from analog to digital film proved to be too expensive for many of the old era operators to afford. Nelson said they’ve been able to get the new technology at an affordable price.
“We found a facility used that we bought for a great price,” he said. “We feel we can make it profitable.”
The plan is to build a screen, concession stand, bathrooms, and grade the site with suitable parking to see the movies.
“It’s a four-to-five acre level piece of ground,” said Nelson. “You don’t find that very much in southern West Virginia.”
Nelson hopes they’ll be open for business in April.