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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Signs of Spring

By | News

MALTA – The recent spell of unseasonably warm weather has a lot of folks thinking summer, even though it hasn’t even been a week since the beginning of spring. The month of March is more often a gray area between the cold of February and the thaw of April. The extended stay of nice weather is starting to accelerate seasonal businesses around the region that might not have even been open for another month.

The Malta Drive-in traditionally opens for showings on weekends at the end of April, before opening for showings every night of the week following Memorial Day. This season, the historic drive-in will be opened almost five weeks ahead of schedule.

Though Malta Drive-In has been open since 1949, it was purchased in 1988 by Ed and Tom Caro. That’s over 20 years as the proprietors of a drive-in movie theater, but not once can Ed remember a season that opened during the month of March.

“We haven’t experienced weather in the 70s and 80s before in March either, so here we are,” Ed Caro said with a laugh.

The winter of 2011 was particularly brutal in terms of snowfall, with soggy, cool weather dragging almost into the month of May. Last season, Malta Drive-In did not open for weekend showings until the last weekend of April. The plan for this season won’t change much except for the full month of extra showings now possible from the unseasonable warmth.

Not much else has changed at the Malta Drive-In, but this season might be the last for their 35 millimeter projection system, which the Caros are considering replacing with a digital projection screen for 2013.

“Basically what we have now is 100-year-old technology,” explains Ed Caro. “There’s a gear pulling 35 millimeter film through a light source that’s projecting it. Digital projection doesn’t have gears at all. It would run off a server, which the movies will be downloaded onto ahead of time, which will be projected through a micro-mirror array.”

The movie theater business has been buzzing for the better part of the last month over the anticipation of the film adaptations to the immensely popular fantasy novel series “The Hunger Games.” While the Malta Drive-In had wanted to be able to show the film during its opening weekend, by the time the owners had determined they would be open, it was too late to acquire a copy of the film.

“Had we known we were going to be open two weeks ago, we would have loved to have shown ‘The Hunger Games,’” said Ed Caro.

For those of you hoping to catch an outdoor film with your loved ones this weekend, the Malta Drive-In will be showing two different double features beginning March 23. The first pair of movies scheduled for screen #1 is the film adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic “The Lorax,” which features Danny Devito as the voice for the title character followed by “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Both movies are rated PG, and the first movie begins at 7:20 p.m.

The movies planned for screen #2 are a little more adult oriented, starting with Disney’s “John Carter,” about a civil war-era soldier sent to Mars, which is rated PG-13. This is followed by the latest attempt to redefine the high school party movie genre, the R-rated “Project X.” This double feature begins at 7:25 p.m. For the latest showtimes and updates on features, visit www.maltadrivein.com.

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