Milestone Movies: A new drive-in theater in Rochester that features classics on anniversaries of debuts

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Milestone Movies is a new drive-in movie experience that features a modular screen, concessions, and classic films on their major anniversaries, like the 10 year anniversary, 20th anniversary, and so on.

The theater’s first weekend starts July 10, and features “Tommy Boy” that night, and “Titan A.E.” July 11. Ticket and the lineup can be found here. All shows start at 9 p.m.

And it all started with a shower thought.

“I’ve never been in the movie business except paying for movies,” said Bernard Birnbaum, co-owner of Milestone Movies, along with Dr. Josh Weitz. “But it was right in May, and I was thinking ‘what are we going to do for entertainment during this?’ What could we do that is going to be a safe environment, that’s fun, that people enjoy?”

This new venture is a twist on the classic drive-in movie theater.

“What I didn’t want to take away from any of the brick and mortar theaters, or any of the existing drive-in theaters, is new releases,” he said. “I didn’t want to take anything anyway of them.”

Milestone Movies is a completely mobile drive-in theater. Instead of building out an entire infrastructure, the screen is inflatable, and they set up and break down on the space every showing at 40 Jarley Road in Rochester.

Birnbaum wanted to provide a fun and nostalgic experience, while not competing with brick and mortar theaters who have invested heavily in their infrastructure.

“I do my movies with my kids who are under nine years old, and I make them watch movies from the 90s when I was growing up, and I’ve seen how much they enjoy that experience,” he said. “How can we bring that into the mainstream for other parents who want to have the same experience with their kids or families?”

Including “Tommy Boy” on the 10th and “Titan A.E.” on the 11th, some other films that will be featured are “Princess Bride,” “The Sandlot,” “Billy Madison,” and “Meet the Parents.” Birnbaum says he’s working on getting more and more movies.

Tickets are charged per vehicle and can be purchased online for a flat fee of $20 per car.

There will also be classic movie concessions for sale, provided by employees wearing masks, face shields, and gloves. You can even text the employees during the show, and they will bring extra snacks right to your car.

Checkout online also offers a completely touchless option for concessions. There are also different concession packs available, with ones tailored to families or date night, that are made and sanitized 24 hours in advance.

And there will, of course, be popcorn.

“We did purchase a popcorn machine so we can do some on-site popcorn,” Birnbaum said. “You have to have popcorn at the movie theater.”

With a 30′ by 20′ screen, Birnbaum says that 68 cars will constitute a “sell out” to keep the best viewing experience for everybody, but as they do more shows they may increase that capacity. Movie goers will be able to listen through a FM frequency that will be provided on arrival.

The drive in is the quintessential summer activity, but Birnbaum wants to run his season through October, and is hoping to showcase both horror and spooky family fun movies during the month.

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