CASPER, Wyo. – An undeveloped plot of land will be transformed into a family-friendly outdoor movie theater this summer.
“We’re going to put a 46-foot screen up and everybody will listen through their FM radio, so it’s a bit of a throwback to when people could go to drive-in movies,” said Flower & Stone owner Karen Blumenstein, which owns and operates the Blackmore Marketplace on Casper’s east side.
The undeveloped space on the south side of Marshalls will be cleared and striped, making room for vehicles and social distancing. Crews will be on hand to direct traffic around the popup theater.
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The first movie, the family comedy “Playing with Fire” staring John Cena, will be shown on Father’s Day, June 21. The second movie night is scheduled for August 1st, when the animated feature “Missing Link” will be shown.
The lot opens at 7 p.m., and movies start after sundown, she said.
Theaters around the country closed in March to slow the spread of coronavirus. They’re slowly preparing for reopening with heavy social distancing and protocols in place. Two of Casper’s theaters plan to reopen on June 14.
But with rodeos and other summer events still canceled or greatly scaled back, Blumenstein said the idea of a community movie designed for the COVID era makes sense.
“We thought this is a nice free way to celebrate Father’s Day in a setting that may not be the norm, and give everybody a little smile and bring some happy space to the community, which is tough to find everywhere right now,” she said.
Blumenstein says she’s planning to make the August 1st show more of an event that starts earlier in the day, with sidewalk sales involving local retailers. She says the event might be bigger and more pedestrian-oriented depending on how health restrictions look by August.
There are several restaurants in the Blackmore Marketplace developments, which includes the Studio City area, that will be open for take-out during the events.
“We chose to do an in-car event right now because we thought it was the safest and most respectful for the variety of people who may want to come,” she said. Health restrictions in Wyoming are easing, but experts still encourage social distancing and caution. Outdoor events tend to be safer, they say.
“All we have to pray for is that there isn’t a whole ton of wind,” she said.