Field of Dreams goes digital
Drive-in movie enthusiasts already may have paid a visit to Field of Dreams Drive-In on SR 53, north of Tiffin. It opened for the season the last weekend in March.
Tonight, the drive-in is to offer an early screening of “Iron Man 3” at 9 on the main screen. Rated PG 13, the movie also is to play at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for senior citizens and children.
One of the owners, Donna Saunders, gave an update on the business. At the end of last season, the owners were concerned about the expense of upgrading the drive-in’s projectors to show movies in digital formats.
As it turned out, movie studios have a “funding stream” to help theaters make the switch. At first, it was only available to indoor theaters but in February, the companies extended the financial assistance to outdoor and small independent theaters, as well.
“We had to come up with some money upfront, but there is a payback mechanism called VPF, which stands for virtual press fee. Basically, over the course of 10 years, they will repay us, based on the number of movies we show on that equipment,” Saunders said.
Although the repayment will not cover the entire cost, it will help recover the initial expense. Saunders said Sutton Bank in Tiffin provided the upfront dollars. Both projectors were installed in March, and the gates opened shortly afterward. The cold weather in March and April was bad for business, but a few diehard customers showed up.
“Once we got converted, we wanted to open and make sure everything was working and get some time under our belts to make sure we knew how to operate everything before we got crazy-busy,” Saunders said.
Field of Dreams is to be open weekends only through June 2. Starting June 7, the drive-in is to operate Friday through Tuesday every week through the summer. A local band is to perform an hour or so each Tuesday before the film.
In addition, moviegoers can come early and play corn hole, ladder golf or put-put golf on the grass in front of the big screen. There is no charge for the use of the games.
In July, Field of Dreams plans to host a day-long concert on the grounds. More details are to be released later.
“The featured local bands will begin Tuesday, June 11. We are really excited about this,” Saunders said.
The theater also has a smaller screen with limited parking. Screen 2 offers two films in addition to those on Screen 1. This weekend, Screen 2 is showing “42” (PG-13) at 9 p.m. and “Olympus Has Fallen” (PG) as the second film.
Denton Saunders manages the drive-in. The phone number is (877) 343-5334. The theater also has a website, www.fieldofdreamsdrivein.com, where updates and additional information are posted.