To say it’s the end of an era would be an understatement.
Twilight Drive-In, beloved as Metro Vancouver’s only remaining drive-in movie theatre, announced on Thursday that 2023 and 2024 would be its final two seasons.
The Langley theatre marks the last bastion of an evening popularized in the ’50s and ’60s of movie-goers piling into cars and enjoying an outdoor theatre experience through sedan windshields or from the back tailgate of pickup trucks.
A Facebook post from the Twilight Drive-In’s page notes that 2024 marks the end of the road for the landmark—the result of a 260 per cent property tax increase over the last three years, 72 per cent of that coming in 2023 alone.
“The landlord has informed us that they will not be renewing our lease,” the heavy-hearted post reads. “We wanted to give all our fantastic drive-in fans lots of notice so that everyone would be able to enjoy the drive-in experience (and drive-in food!) as much as possible over the next two summers. We hope that you will spread the word about the only drive-in movie theatre, so that those who have never experienced a drive-in, may do so before the opportunity is gone forever.”
Opening in September of 2005, the Twilight Drive-in was the creation of Jay Daulat and his family, who noted in a 2006 interview with the Straight that the over 240 drive-ins that were once scattered throughout Canada in the late 1950s “did not die for lack of attendance,” but that the large movie conglomerates found that it would be more profitable to open multiplexes.
“They just abandoned that segment of the industry and left it to the small guys like us.”
The drive-in upgraded to a digital projector in 2012, and would became an obvious refuge for COVID-era patrons who were looking for something to do outside of their solitary walls, as the in-car seating provided a built-in buffer to protect bubble groups from one another.
“We want to thank everyone for the tremendous support over the past 18 years, and we hope that we will see you at the drive-in to make some more terrific memories before we drive off into the sunset…” reads the post.
Those hoping to catch a flick before the drive-in is gone for good can do so seven nights a week, rain or shine. The theatre is currently screening a double feature of The Flash at 9:45pm and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse at 12:15am (though the times are switched on Saturdays).
Mondays and Wednesdays are single feature nights showing The Flash at a discounted rate of $5 off per vehicle, with regular rates running from $25 for one person in one vehicle up to $95 for eight people in one vehicle.
Tuesdays offer a couple’s night discount and Thursdays allow for a $40 flat carload (maximum of five people).
Twilight Drive-In is located at 260th Street and Fraser Highway in Langley, and tickets can be purchased either online or at the box-office upon entry.