INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- In the age of Netflix and streaming movies on your phone, you might think the drive-in theater is a forgotten form of entertainment from another time.
You’d be wrong.
“This is how I grew up,” Sheri Brown said. “Between the fresh air, the lack of light pollution and being able to see the sky and the stars.”
Brown loaded up her minivan and took her children, and some of their friends, to the B&B Theatres Twin Drive-In in Independence.
“It’s just the experience of blending the two things,” Brown said. “You’re watching a movie with your family while being outside, in the outdoors.”
The Twin Drive-In is one of only two drive-ins left in the metro. The Boulevard Drive-In Theatre in Kansas City, Kansas, also remains popular with those who relish the chance to keep a great American tradition alive.
Kandy Combs is the first face customers usually see when they arrive at the Twin in Independence. For Combs, and many other staff members, she sees her job as the official greeter as something more than just a job.
“This is definitely much more,” Combs said. “This is like an awesome memory of childhood.”
While experts estimate there are only about 300 drive-ins remaining in the country, Ian Humiston, an assistant manager at the Twin Drive-In, said year-to-year box office sales are trending up.
“We’ve seen the numbers increase this year drastically from last year,” Humiston said.
For some, it’s a like stepping into a time machine, a reminder of a simpler time.
And for the generation raised on smart screens, spreading out on a blanket and watching "The Lion King" on a massive outdoor screen, it truly is like nothing they’ve ever seen before.
“I mean you get two movies, and it’s on a big screen,” 13-year-old Erica Brown-Hartley said. “I could be laying down however I want. I can’t do that at the indoor theater.”
According to Combs, that’s what it’s all about.
“I get to see people and family, and it’s just about togetherness,” Combs said. “I guess, to me, that’s the magic of the movies.”