Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer
After 70 years in Northwest Arkansas, including 42 years at their current location, the 112 Drive-In will close for good at the end of August.
In a fitting end to a long run, the theater will show some classic films over the final two weekends.
On Aug. 19-20, the drive-in will show Wizard of Oz beginning at 8:30 p.m., followed by Twister at around 10:30 p.m. And on the last weekend Aug. 26-27, Footloose will begin at 8:30 p.m., followed by Grease at 10:30 p.m.
The owners of the 112 Drive-In sought and received approval to rezone the property earlier this year. The property is set to be sold to CL Partners, LLC, according to Steve Brooks, an attorney with Eldridge Brooks Partners who represents the buyers, who plan to redevelop the property.
Brooks said he couldn’t speak in much detail about the development, but told the City Council back in the spring that the new owners plan to include a drive-in theater somewhere on the property. A representative from the 112 Drive-In said earlier this year that the owners do not plan to be involved in the operations of either new cinema space, “but are thrilled with the new prospective owners’ plans for the project and land development.”
The 112 Drive-In is currently one of only three remaining permanent drive-in movie theaters in Arkansas, along with the Kenda Drive-In in Marshall and the Stone Drive-In in Mountain View.
The United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association states there were 318 drive-ins across the U.S. as of September, down from 374 theaters in 2010. The industry has seen a drastic reduction from its heyday in 1958 when there were 4,063 drive-ins in operation, with the hardest hits coming from 1978-1988 when over 1,000 screens closed.
Closures of drive-ins, the association says, are commonly due to land value increases that make selling for redevelopment attractive financially, especially for aging owners who wish to retire, who have difficulty obtaining first-run films, and who face increasing competition from other entertainment options.
Admission for the final two weekends is set at $10 for those 13 and older, $5 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 5 years old.
A bit more information about the plans for the final weekend is available via the 112 Drive-In Facebook group.