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‘We try to keep it as original as possible’ While temporary Drive-in movie theaters gain popularity, few actual ones remain

Posted at 10:05 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 00:05:41-04

TOOELE, Utah — As you drive through Edra, UT an old sign with movie times sits on the corner, welcoming customers to the Motor Vu Theater. It’s one of only five remaining drive-in movie theatres in the state of Utah.

A lot has changed since now-assistant manager Mike Booth started working at the theater when he was 12 years old.

“So, this is memories of a 12-year-old, [it was] a lot busier and I don’t know, it was a lot more adults, I think,” he said.

Development has also had an impact on the drive-in.

“The theater got a little bit smaller when the highway expanded,” he said.

In 1950, there were about 4,000 drive-in movie theatres across the U.S., now only about 330 remain, according to

The Motor Vu Theater has been owned by the same family for a long time, and that family love for it is what Booth credits to his long history and for staying open.

“The problems they face are the development around them and finding the next generation to take over,” he said of other drive-in theaters.

Due to Covid-19, many movie theatres have gotten creative and opened up drive-ins in the parking lot, Even some Walmart parking lots will be transformed into drive-ins this year.

The new trend of drive-ins is interesting to see Booth admits.

“Considering how it impacts us, but it also doesn’t impact us because they can’t replicate the feeling if being here,” he said.

Despite the revival of interest in drive-ins, Booth said business is about the same as it was last year. He credits that to the lack of new movies being released.

“If we pick a new set of movies, we do pretty well if we don’t pick a good set of movies it’s a little lower,” he said.

After about 25 years and a lot of changed, Booth still says there is something special about watching a movie under the stars.

“Out of all the jobs I’ve had, this is the only one I’ve loved,” he said.

For more information on the Motor Vu Theater, click here.