Ocala Drive-In remains one of few big screens playing movies in NCFL

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 7:04 AM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - The Ocala Drive-In has been a place you could go to enjoy a movie form the comfort of your car for years, but now it’s one of the only places in North Central Florida to see a movie on the big screen.

The drive-in allows for a safe, socially distanced activity during the pandemic, but even with less competition due to theaters being closed the drive-in is still facing challenges.

Owner John Watzke said the biggest challenge being the lack of new movies being released.

“The availability of movies right now is really causing a problem, it’s hit and miss on a new releases and they’re releasing them to pay-per-view at the same time,” said Watzke. “It does put a little bit of a clench in it where they could see it at home if they wanted to.”

But Watzke is bringing back older movies each week. He said it’s hard to pick so to make the decision a little easier he turns to the drive-ins facebook page for movie suggestions.

“Some of the companies, such as Disney, have been real strict about the movies. They’re not even releasing the old movies to us,” Watzke said.

It doesn’t matter what’s movie is playing, he said he’s just happy to provide the experience of watching it on the big screen.

“If they’ve seen it at a drive-in they’re going to tell you about the movie, the vehicle they were in, who was with them. It becomes a memory. So I always tell people the walk-in theater is a movie and that’s it and a drive-in is a memory for life,” said Watzke.

Ticket prices include two movies and are $6 for adults, $3 for children ages six to 12, and free for ages five and under.

The drive in is open 7 nights a week. Click here for showings.

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