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Drive-in Theaters for Sale

by Released : 2024-05-22

Brownsville Drive-in for sale

Many people dream of owning and operating their own business. Some want to own a restaurant, others a retail store, others a brewery or distillery.  And then there are those whose dream many find a bit odd for this day and age – the dream of owning and operating a drive-in movie theater.  While many mistakenly think the drive-in theater is a relic of the 1950’s, they are still around, still entertaining people on warm summer nights, ad still fueling the fantasies of would be owners.

During the peak of the drive-in theater back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, there were over 4000 drive-ins operating in the United States.  Today, there are only about 320 remaining meaning there are only about 300 drive-in theater business owners (some owners own multiple drive-ins) in the United States.  So being a drive-in owner is an exclusive club these days which heightens the appeal for some.  Thoughts of bringing nightly entertainment under the stars to families during the happy months of summer is an appealing draw for many.  Others have fond memories of going to the drive-in in their youth and wish to recreate those feelings by owning one. 

But owning and operating a drive-in in today’s entertainment overloaded society is a rough business. Drive-in owners have to compete with more forms of on-demand entertainment than ever before.  They have to fight with the weather just to open as this past spring’s late arrival will attest.  At a time when many drive-ins were normally open, their lots were still covered in snow from the winter that just would not let go.  In addition, drive-in owners must deal with increasing land values and taxes, ever more demanding movie studios, increasing equipment cost and a host of other business hurdles. 

But for those who still wish to dream about owning a drive-in, here is your chance.  Below is a list of operating drive-in theaters in the United States currently for sale.  There are other former drive-ins for sale, but only ones currently in operation are listed below.  Most of the owners looking to sell are simply doing so in order to retire and they would love to see their drive-ins continue to operate versus being turned into another strip mall or other commercial development.  So if you have the desire, check these out. 

Black River Drive-in

Black River Drive-in in Watertown, NY was listed for sale in October 2023 as owner Loren Knapp considers retirement.  The Black River Drive-in was originally built in 1950, and was first lit in August of that year as a solo screen with a capacity for just over 500 cars.  It closed in the 1980s for 20 years and then reopened on August 18th, 2006. 

Roy's Black Hills Twin Drive-in

Roy's Black Hills Twin Drive-In is offering an incredible opportunity to own a piece of cinematic nostalgia, with truly endless possibilities!  This unique twin-screen drive-in movie theater was the first all digital drive-in and has some of the largest screens in the US at 80 feet wide!  The Drive-in Movie Theater is situated on 16.6 acres of commercial land located in the Black Hills of Hermosa SD along Highway 79, just 18 miles from Rapid City, SD, and a short scenic drive to Mt Rushmore and all that the Black Hills has to offer.  This property is a well-established drive-in movie theater located in a prime location, has a devoted audience, and is fully equiped and ready to create memories for years to come.  Roy can be reached at njtj04@gmail.com or Haley at Will Dixon Real Estate 605-484-5802.  Here is the listing: MLS Listing

Mustang Drive-in

In September or 2023, the Mustang Drive-In in Prince Edward County was listed for sale for $1.599 million.  Take the reigns of a fully turn key, successful business in a prime location in one of the hottest tourist destinations in Ontario. Daydreaming about starting new adventure? This is it! Join a community of inspiring, like minded individuals who have carved their path in PEC. Imagine working for four months providing entertainment to the masses and also having the rest of the year to travel and unwind. If you have more ambitious a vision, the Highway Commercial (CH) zoning allows for a number of uses, including, hotel, motel and restaurant just to name a few. The listing also includes a residence above the business so no need to commute. Already have a place to stay? Maybe a key staff member could use it and be your eyes and ears on the ground. With over 9 acres of land to play with and a short drive to all the county hubs The Mustang Drive-In is ready for your vision to become a reality! 

Doc's Drive-in Theatre

Doc's Drive-in is a twin screen drive-in theater located in Buda, Texas which is about 15 south of Austin, Texas. Doc's Drive-in is a new drive-in that opened in October of 2018. It has some unique features such as tiny homes with movie themes that can be rented so you can stay the night after the movies. They also have a pond with a swimming beach that rental house guests can use. As you would expect, Doc's has concessions on site but they also have a bar as well modeled after an old Speakeasy bar.

In July of 2022, the owners listed Doc's Drive-in Theatre for sale.  The asking price is $3,999,999 which is certainly on the high side for a drive-in compared to other drive-ins for sale.  However, it is a two screen drive-in that includes 8 acres, a members-only speakeasy club, a commercial kitchen, and three casitas (plus their short-term rental income flow).

Brownsville Drive-in

The Brownsville Drive-in is a three screen drive-in theater located in Grindstone, PA which is about an hour south of Pittsburgh, PA.  The owner put the drive-in up for sale in 2021 and it remains for sale as of this writing in July of 2022.  

The current owner started working at the Brownsville Drive-in as a teenager selling tickets.  He and a partner bought the drive-in in 1972 and have owned it ever since.  So after 50 years of running it, he is looking to retire and hopes someone will buy it and continue to run it as a drive-in. 

The Brownsville Drive-in is in excellent shape and has been well maintained.  No price was given but any interested parties can call the owner at 724-970-7462 or email the owner at preach@tjent.com.

Aurora Sunset Drive-in

The Aurora Sunset Drive-in is a single screen drive-in located in Aurora, Missouri which is in the Southwest corner of the state in the Ozarks.  It has been in continuous operation since opening in 1951.

The Aurora Sunset Drive-in is listed as having 5 acres, restrooms, concessions/main cooking area, office, and projection room, box office, second concessions building, 2 storage sheds, and 300 parking spaces, as well as a playground area and outdoor seating!

It is currently listed for $500,000.  You can view the listing by visiting the realtor website Verus Network.

Skowhegan Drive-In Theatre

The Skowhegan Drive-in was a single screen drive-in movie theater located in Skowhegan, Maine. The Skowhegan Drive-in opened in 1954. This single screen drive-in operated seasonally form May through September.

It went up for sale in 2022.  As of late 2023, the screen panels have been completely removed due to it containing asbestos and the snack shack is still on the property. The drive-in sites on about 11.6 acres.  If interested, you can contact real estate broker Mark Michaud markmichaud@rizzomattson.com or call him at 207-458-6309.

Sunset Drive-in

The Sunset Drive-in is a large, three screen drive-in located in Middleport, NY which is northern New York between Niagra Falls and Rochester.  The drive-in is one of New York's oldest and has been operating for over 70 years. In addition to its three screens, it has had a fully functioning restaurant/diner with table seating and takeout.

The drive-in is listed for sale with an asking price of $999,900. Movies and Restaurant closed for 2024.

5 Mile Drive-in and The Sunset Drive-in

For those that really want to take the plunge into drive-in ownership, one owner is selling two drive-ins, both located in Michigan.  The 5 Mile Drive-in is a single screen drive-in located in Dowagiac, Michigan.  Known as 'The Fiver', it has been operating since 1961.  The Sunset Drive-in is also a single screen drive-in located in Hartford, Michigan. The Sunset has been operating since 1948.

Both drive-ins are located in the bottom portion of Michigan and the owner is selling them together.  The asking price for both drive-ins is $449,000.

Hi-Way Drive-in - SOLD to Greg and Sydney Mills

The Hi-Way Drive-in is a large 4 screen drive-in with a 600 car capacity located in Coxsackie, New York.  It has been in continious operation since the 1950's.  The Babcock family owned the Hi-Way Drive-in since 1997 and decided to retire.  The Hi-Way Drive-in was listed for sale for $975,000.

Weir’s Drive-in

The Weir’s Drive-in is located in Laconia, NH and is one of only three remaining drive-ins still operating in New Hampshire.  It was opened in 1949.  It is a large drive-in with 4 screens and a 1000 car capacity.  The owner had an agreement to sell the drive-in last year to a developer who was going to tear it down and build condominiums on the land.  However, that deal fell through over this past winter and so the Weir’s Drive-in is back open this season but still looking to sell.  But you might need a little extra to buy the Weir’s Drive-in as it is the most expensive on our list at $2.5 million.

Silver Drive-in

The Silver Drive-in is located in Johnstown, PA.  It is a single screen drive-in that has been in continuous operation since 1950. As with our other drive-ins, the owner who is in his 70’s is looking to retire and slow down a little.  He hopes he can find an owner to buy it and continue to operate it as a drive-in theater.  Compared to the previously mentioned drive-ins, the Silver Drive-in is a bargain with an asking price of $699,000 for its 8 ½ acres of land.  The Silver Drive-in converted to digital projection a few years back and is continuing to operate normally.

Graham Drive-in

The Graham Drive-in is a single screen drive-in located in Graham, TX.  It was opened in 1948 and is one of the oldest remaining drive-ins in Texas. Back in 2013, the Graham Drive-in won a contest sponsored by Honda awarding the winner the needed funds to convert from 35mm film to digital.  The owners of the Graham are also looking to retire and are hopeful someone with their same passion for this drive-in will buy it and continue to operate it as it is an important fixture of the town of Graham.  We do not have an asking price for the Graham, so maybe give them a call and make them an offer. 

Skyview Drive-in

The Skyview Drive-in is located in Litchfield, Illinois and is the last operating drive-in along the famed Route 66 in Illinois.  The Skyview has been open since 1950 and has been upgraded.  16 Acre Theater with Grass Play Areas, a 42′ x 52′ Movie Screen, 13 Rows of Parking accommodates. 1950s Era Concession Stand refurbished in 2011 and a 1950s style double lane Ticket Booth.

At the time of this writing, the Skyview is currently for sale for $395,000. 
For more info contact: John Eichenlaub at 618.277.4400.

Can-View Drive-in

The Can View Drive-in is a large, four screen drive-in movie theater located in Fonthill, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest drive-in located in Ontario, Canada. with 4 screens. It is only 10 minutes from Niagra Falls.

At the time of this writing, the Can-View Drive-in is currently for sale for $10.8 million.  The property is 84 acres and is only about 10 minutes from Niagra Falls.  While the drive-in could certainly be purchased and operated as a drive-in, it appears they are marketing it for sale as commercial proprety with development potential.  So at that asking price, if sold, it is almost certain the drive-in will be torn down and the land developed.  

Showboat Drive-in

The Showboat Drive-in is a twin screen drive-in movie theater located in Hockley, TX which is about 40 miles outside of Houston, TX. The Showboat drive-in is a newcomer in the drive-in industry as it was just opened in 2006. Opened as a single screen venue, the owners added a second screen in 2007. They are open year round and show double features on their two screens nightly during the summer and on weekends only during the rest of the year.

Listed in Febraury of 2023, the Showboat Drive-in is for sale for $5.5M. 

Tascosa Drive-in

The Tascosa Drive-in is a single screen drive-in movie theater located in Amarillo, Texas. It has been open since 1952.  Originally a twin screen drive-in, one of the screens was destroyed by fire in the late 1970's and it has operated as a single screen drive-in since.  

The owners have owned and operated it since the late 1990's and are selling so they can retire.  The current listing states there drive-in has 7.6 acres and is listed for $700,000.  You can see the sale listing at Loopnet

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