Adventures of the Snackbarqueen

The Quirky Business of Drive-Ins

Lately, I’ve had a few complaints about our movie selections and the fact that we don’t know weeks in advance what we’ll be showing.  So maybe the following will help our customers understand just what goes into booking films for a drive-in theater.

Unlike the multi-plex indoor theaters, we have two screens on which we play two movies.  Our first feature is normally a “first-run”.  That means we’re playing it on the night it opens.  The second feature, or co-hit, is also a fairly new release.  While it may have been out for awhile, it is still considered a first-run movie as it has not yet been released to the discount houses or on DVD.  We utilize a film buyer, as he or she is called in our business.  This person works on our behalf with the film companies to secure the film packages we play throughout our season.

Some film companies are great to work with, they will “play in the sandbox” with just about any other film company to create the film package.  We pay, on average, 80% of the admission price in film rent to show their films on our screens.  Unlike the indoor theaters, we’re limited as to the number of films we can play each week and we only have one showing every night.  When new movies are released we have to negotiate with each film company for their movie, and sometimes we can’t make a deal with them because their film rent is too high for us to play their picture with another feature.  Let’s be reasonable, we can’t pay 80% to one company and 40% to another company for film rent.  120% means we’d be chipping in money on each persons admission.  The drive-in would be closed in about two weeks if we had to do that!

In the movie business, money matters.  When we make a deal with the film companies they require us to play new releases for a minimum of two weeks.  That creates a lot of limitations on what new releases we can play.  It’s quite complicated, considering what new films are coming up and what films we believe will draw the most business.  After all we have to make money to survive or why bother?  Wouldn’t you agree?  In addition when a film is really doing well, we’re inclined to keep the picture and pass on something that might not do as well, or have “legs” for the long-haul.

I understand that some folks are disappointed with our selections, and there’s an old adage that says…”you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.”  That’s the life of drive-in movie theater owners, and we accept that.  We’re trilled with our loyal customers and their understanding of our situation as well as their realization that drive-in theaters are a dying breed and at the same time a rare gem.  (On a side note, with the age of digital arriving in 2013, many single screen operators will fold up for lack of funds.) Fort Collins has always been a wonderful and supportive town and Wes and I love this place.  We plan to continue running this theater for as many years as our fans support us.  We know not everyone is drive-in customer material, and we’re ok with that.  We just hope that those of you who are will continue to support us.  When you don’t, we’ll sell out to a developer and move on.

For now, see you at the movies!

Snackbarqueen

38 Responses to “The Quirky Business of Drive-Ins”

  1. Aura

    I don’t care how you do it. As long as you stay in our community :) Our family and friends have been coming there since 1985 and we have had alot of good memories there. So, however you get it done, I just want to thank you!

    Reply
    • Brad

      I was raised here and could not even imagine Fort Collins without A drive in its what I think of when I think Fort Collins.Your Prices are unbeatable and the selections are awesome most the time with a kido movie followed by a more grown up flick which works out because my daughter usually falls asleep.

      Reply
  2. Todd

    I think the new website is great – and also appreciate you taking the time to explain some of the unique dynamics of drive in theaters vs the megaplexes. Our family loves Holiday Twin and look forward to every spring opening. See you tonight for Brave!

    Reply
  3. Jami

    Hopefully this will be the one and only time you have to address this question. Thank you for staying in business and giving the community, including those outside FoCo who drive up for a special nt at the drive in, a fun place to be on a summer evening. Keep up the GREAT work you do, we appreciate you! But just as idea, if negotiations for new releases are stalling, you could do a retro week- and double feature horror movies on one side and/or classic 80′s movie on the other side- or Academy award winning films or The Little Mermaid 1&2……. you get the drift.

    Reply
    • Snackbarqueen Snackbarqueen

      The ability to do things like retro films and classics is coming!! With our digital conversion this fall we’ll have a whole new world of opportunities. We’re really looking forward to all we’ll be able to do once this installation is complete. Thank you for your support of our theater. We truly appreciate our fans :)

      Reply
  4. Candi

    I don’t know what complaints you could possibly have about such a fantastic piece of nostalgia. I can’t wait to be able to share the drive in experience with many son. We have been some of your most loyal patrons since moving to Fort Collins seven years ago, sometimes twice a weekend for both screens. I would be devastated if you closed before my son is old enough to enjoy your wonderful theater

    Reply
  5. joe

    First movie I ever saw was at ur theater and we have been there EVERY summer since …don’t ever leave! !! Thanx! !!

    Reply
  6. Chris

    We have only been going to your drive in for four or five years now. We live in Denver and when Cinderella Twin drive in closed we decided to make the one hour drive to check out the Holiday Twin. Since then we have made that trip at least a dozen times every summer, and it is always well worth the trip, even with gas at $4 a gallon. Whatever you are doing, thank you for doing it and please, keep it up. See you again soon!

    Reply
  7. idahogeology

    I LOVE your drive-in and have nothing but great things to say!!!! We frequently drive up from Arvada to see your movies. You always show the movies I want to see and my dog LOVES your poporn!!!

    Reply
    • Snackbarqueen Snackbarqueen

      We love dogs!! Hopefully your dog loves the treats he gets at the window as well. Wes and I are always amazed at how far customers come to see a movie or two at the drive in. He loves hearing from folks who drive from far and wide to see a show. So next time you drive in, let him know where you’re from, he’ll enjoy hearing from all of you.

      Reply
  8. Arianna

    I love the family friendly selections, and the prices are unbeatable. I love the experience of a drive in theater thank you so much for making it possible:)

    Reply
  9. Tracie

    I have been coming to your drive-in since I was in high school (if not sooner). Now I bring my four children!!! They love it and so do I….all I hear all week is when do we get to go to the drive-in! Thank you so much….see you tonight!

    Reply
  10. Craig

    My family have been making the trip from Milliken to Fort Collins at least twice a year for the past 9 summers. We literally pass by 3 multiplex options on our way in, but wouldn’t miss the drive-in experience for anything. We are always eagerly looking for the opening in the spring.

    Reply
  11. Seth

    I don’t know why anyone is complaining because it’s a great place to catch a couple of films for almost nothing. I drive to Fort Collins from Denver at least a couple times a year just for the Holiday Twin Drive-In. Many communities aren’t fortunate enough to still have a drive-in, let alone a brilliant one. Thanks for your hard work.

    Reply
  12. Lori

    I would just hate to ever see you go. My parents grew up at drive ins, and they took us all the time. And now we are taking our kids and grandkids. It is such a great experience. Thanks.

    Reply
  13. Amber

    We have no complaints. We drive an hour once a week to watch movies at your drive in and are always surprised at the great deal we get for such a low price. We wouldn’t be able to see so many movies with our budget otherwise. We are always pleased with how new the movies are and love laying in the back of our SUV and watching mmovies.

    Reply
    • Snackbarqueen Snackbarqueen

      We love hearing this. Just last night I left my post and gave some assistance in security. I was amazed at the number of folks sitting in the back of their vehicles or in chairs outside the back of their vehicles. I told my mom, “It looks like America’s largest tailgate party out there!” She laughed, “I told you so”, she said. It’s really a joy to see everyone out there having a night out with their families.

      Reply
  14. Riqui

    You guys ROCK!!! I grew up in a town that had/has- 2! YES -2! drive inn theaters. We are spoiled in deed. Keep up the good work. You won’t hear any complaints from me. Thanks again!!!

    Reply
  15. Toni

    I can’t imagine drive ins no longer being around! It was a big deal when my parents took me to the drive-in and I want to pass those memories on to my kids. We love coming here and really it doesn’t matter what movie is playing, what matters is that our family spends time together and memories are being made.

    Reply
    • Snackbarqueen Snackbarqueen

      Toni, I love your attitude. The memories you’re making with your children will last a lifetime. When my youngest graduated from high school in May I kept thinking, “Where did the time go? I want more!” I’m blessed to have both of my sons working for me this summer at the drive-in, but soon they will both be off to school again and it will never be the same! Enjoy your family :)

      Reply
  16. Carissa

    I grew up in Fresno CA and was devastated when the last drive in closed. It was wonderful to find Holiday Twin when we moved here seven years ago with our four kids. we have been enjoying movies every summer since.

    Reply
  17. kirk hawks

    Just wondering if you would be willing to offer free admission for the High Park fire evacuees please.

    Reply
  18. Carlos/Wendy

    Hi ya’ll Carlos and Wendy here we will be going up to Wellington this summer for work and will be glad to see a movie at your drive-in. We will be bringing our two kiddos and best friend to enjoy the scenic area of Fort Collins up from Houston, Texas can’t wait to pull up a lawn chair and enjoy a movie or two at you place.

    Reply
  19. Tiffanie Becher

    I love taking my family to the drive-in. Keeping doing exactly what you are, we are so thankful to have a place like yours to enjoy!

    Reply
  20. Cameo

    I love the fact that we still have a drive in.I have fond memories of the Holiday Twin Drive in from my childhood..and now I get to share it with my children! Thank you for staying loyal to Fort Collins fans even in this tough economy!

    Reply
  21. Michelle W.

    Thanks for your wonderful explanation. There are many of us that love your theater so keep up your great work at bringing such wonderful entertainment to our community. Don’t let any of the negative people bring you down. We love your theater! Just come back to this page for these positive comments to keep you inspired. And thanks for all you do!

    Reply
  22. Stephanie

    I love the drive in. But PLEASE bring back the dancing snacks at intermission. They are so nostalgic!

    Reply
    • Snackbarqueen Snackbarqueen

      Stephanie, I’m sure the dancing hot dog is still jumping in the bun! YIKES!! I’ll check and make sure. He’s a must see :)

      Reply
  23. Patty

    Just wanted to let you all known how much me & my family enjoy driving from Cheyenne to watch movies at the drive in!

    Reply
  24. bewestbrook

    We’re visiting from out of state and just waiting for dark o’clock to go to the drive-in. And, because I cannot help myself, “thrilled,” not “trilled” with loyal customers. Sorry. Can’t help it. Looking forward to the drive-in.

    Reply
  25. Michelle

    Thank you for all you do. We love going to the drive in. It’s family friendly and budget friendly. We pack up our 3 young (!!!) kids and get to hang out with them until they crash, then we get to enjoy the movie. Without the drive in we wouldn’t get the movie experience.

    It would be nice to know what movies are showing earlier in the week, but it’s not a deal breaker and more often than not we’re too busy to check until the day of anyway.

    Reply
  26. Nate

    My wife and I make sure we get to the drive in at least once a week and we usually like to make it more than that. Closing would be the worst thing that could happen to this community as this drive in has been a huge part of my life and I want it to be a part of my kids life too. So my wife and I will contimue to support this amazing establishment no matter what movies are playing and how short notice we get.

    Reply
    • Snackbarqueen Snackbarqueen

      Nate, thanks to fans like you, we’ll be here for a long time to come. We really do appreciate all our loyal supporters. We don’t let a few negative people drag us down, we just try to explain why we do what we do and move on.

      Reply
  27. Shelley

    I would like to say Thank You to the owners and staff of the Holiday Twin, you ROCK!! I have attended the Drive-In for almost 30 yrs and will continue to go for another 30!! You always provide a great night for fun and the service is awesome!! Thank you again.

    Reply
  28. Leland

    We love coming to the drive in, I grew up at one back in Nebraska and now live here in Cheyenne and love making the trip to Fort Collins see movies at the Holiday Twin.

    Reply

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