The movies are back … or at least some of them.
While most of the state’s cineplexes are still in an intermission, a disappearing part of moviegoing’s past is now our sole hope for the moviegoing present: the drive-in. After all, social distancing is essentially built into this particular big screen experience; people are watching from the locked-away comfort of their car seats, with audio pumped in either through speakers or a radio frequency. And now that they’ve got the green light, we can soon roll film on going to the movies again from the safety of our sweet rides.
Here are several Wisconsin drive-ins still keeping the glorious tradition of movie-going – both retro and current – alive and well.
It’s the end of the world as we know it – but we’ll all feel fine at this makeshift pop-up drive-in, hosted by Bounce Milwaukee and presented by Milwaukee Record. The un-killable Apocalypse Drive-In – originally scrapped back in March when Gov. Evers’ “Safer at Home” order was put into effect, but now given second life – will screen its first batch of delightfully dystopian end-of-days fare on May 22-23 at 8 p.m. on the side of Bounce, with the movie picks announced at the beginning of each week. Sound will be piped in via an FM radio frequency, a full menu of food and beverages (plus Milwaukee Record gear) will be available, social distancing practices will be enforced and good times will be had. (Well, not for the characters in the apocalyptic movies we’ll be watching, I imagine.)
Beginning on May 22, check out the big screens at the Big Sky in Wisconsin Dells, featuring two full-sized outdoor screens playing two-for-one first-run feature films. The drive-in opens at 7:30 p.m., with the first movie starting at dusk – and even pets are allowed to enjoy the show (if they’re well-behaved; turn off your cell phones, pups). Audio comes through the FM radio, and tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children under 11 years old – but make sure to bring cash because the Big Sky does not take credit/debit cards. And make sure to leave some room for snacking, because the concession stand proudly touts the famous Big Mamaburger on the menu. Dinner and a show!
Generally open for double features when the weather allows Wednesdays through Sundays, the single-screen Chilton Twilight Outdoor Theater is one of the youngest breed of this old-fashioned way of moviegoing, just opened in 2012. Plus, for your pre-show entertainment, there’s a mini-golf course (albeit closed for the time being to encourage social distancing). The Chilton Twilight opened back up for the season on May 15 with a double-feature of “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” hitting its big screen throughout the month of May. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., with the first show starting around 8:30 p.m.