By Cam Lucadou-Wells
After 10 weeks of closed gates, Dandenong’s Lunar Drive-In became a lone beacon for film buffs.
On 1 June, the spacious four-screen complex was the only Victorian cinema re-opened for business as part of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
With social distancing still in force, the drive-in initially capped visitors to 600.
It also closed off its sit-down dining booths and staggered the film times to help manage the expectant crowds.
“As a drive-in owner, it was the first time I’ve ever hoped for damp weather,” owner David Kilderry says.
The colourful re- opening launched the drive-in’s large, spectacular $3-million snack bar.
With an angular roof, neon lights, dining booths and chessboard floor-tiles, the building pays homage to snack bars and diners in LA in the 1950s.
In the meantime, Covid-19 has dried up the supply of new film releases.
In response, Lunar Drive-In is offering classics like a Grease sing-a-long and the first Fast and Furious instalment as well as recent works like The Invisible Man and Sonic the Hedgehog.
“Drive-ins don’t just survive on nostalgia,” Mr Kilderry says.
“Young people of course think it’s their thing – that it’s all modern and new.”
The opening drew a few classic cars and customers in costume, while others relaxed in trackies and doonas.
“It’s an outing. After all these weeks, our regulars have been rapt to come back.”
Drive-ins in Coburg and Dromana have also re-opened. Indoor cinemas may open from 22 June.