Shankweiler’s Drive-In is the oldest continuously operating drive-in in the state of Pennsylvania, having first opened to the public in 1934. But its future was in doubt when longtime owners Paul and Susan Geissinger considered closing it down while searching for a buyer for their historic theatre.
After coming across a local story on the potential closure of Shankweiler’s, nearby residents Lauren McChesney and Matt McClanahan decided to take the plunge and buy out the Geissinger’s. Lauren and Matt already operated The Moving Picture Cinema, providing a mobile movie theatre service for use by businesses and communities in Eastern Pennsylvania.
BoxofficePro columnist Chad Kennerk interviewed the new owners about the long and storied history of Shankweiler and the successes and challenges they have faced. They provide a positive outlook on the future of the drive-in as they celebrate their 90th anniversary in operation.
This story showcases just one case of many in which a new generation of owners are taking drive-ins, bringing new ideas and investment. Many of these business owners gathered last week at the annual UDITOA Drive-In Convention in Orlando, Florida to share stories and enjoy the camaraderie of this unique group of entrepreneurs.
Nearly 300 outdoor movie theatres operate in the U.S., most of which are run by local families and community organizations, and represent an important sector of exhibition. Screendollars enjoyed meeting the new owners of theatres such as the Rose City Drive-In, Skyview Drive-In, and WesMer Drive-In among others.