Back in 1986 the majority of drive-ins across the country were playing “second run” movies. Before the days of the mega plex theaters, most towns and cities had numerous one screen theaters all competing for the new or “first run” movies that were released. Drive-in’s were in the position of playing the left overs.
Wes, the owner of the Holiday Twin, was attending a convention for theater owners with Hollywood movie executives. As he tells it, “I really wanted to see what the Holiday Twin could do up against the indoor houses in town. After dinner one evening, having drinks, (I like to imagine it was a dirty martini, but that’s just me) I challenged the Paramount executive to give us a good first run feature and see what we could do.” It just so happened that certain executive was in a minor beef with one of the indoor operators at the time and he agreed to give the Holiday Twin “Top Gun”.
The Holiday Twin played Top Gun and grossed more revenue than all the indoor houses combined in the Fort Collins area.
The rest is history, as they say. Hollywood took notice and from that point on the Holiday Twin along with many of the other drive-ins around the country were given first run movies!
These days, when we go to our drive-in theater conventions, Wes is a rock star. The old theater owners know his name and credit him with turning drive-in’s back to profitability with his bold move in 1986.
Top Gun holds a special place in our hearts! It also helps that Wes flew fighter jets in the Air National Guard in his day. For those who know, he flew the Sabre Jet. That dates him
It’s a great story, I think. Hope you’ll join us as we talk a walk down memory lane on Tuesday, May 14th.
See you at the movies!