MOVIE MAGIC

Since the Sourris family first opened the Yatala Drive In back in 1974, they’ve been part of movie history, showing some of the biggest and most iconic movies ever made.

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With the third generation of the family now managing the family business, the drive in has built a loyal following of movie buffs who love the concept of being able to relax in the comfort of their cars, wearing their comfiest clothes, and feasting on tasty and traditional diner treats while they watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

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It’s been a favourite Aussie pastime for decades, loading the family into the car and enjoying a night out under the stars while watching the stars on the big screen and, while the drive in may have faced some challenges over the last four decades, in 2021 they’re continuing to pull big crowds.

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Peter Sourris, General Manager of the Yatala Drive In, and grandson of the original founder, said drive ins had gone through some tough times in the 1980s, thanks to the emergence of VHS videos, which meant that, for the first time, people could watch the latest movies from the comfort of their own homes.

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“During the ‘80s we not only had to compete with videos, but also with the start of the new movie multiplexes, which could show multiple movies while we could only show one movie at a time,” Peter said.

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Soaring property values also saw the closure of a number of suburban drive ins, with large blocks of land sold to make way for more housing.

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But while some drive ins have closed over the years, the Yatala Drive In continues to go from strength to strength, surviving the rise of movie streaming services and even the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Drive ins are seen as COVID safe, because people can stay in their cars.”

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A recent renovation of the original café has transformed it from its 1970s look to a cool, retro 1950s vibe, featuring red vinyl seating, black and white checkerboard floors, mid-century signage and even a life-sized Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, so stepping inside to buy your movie snacks instantly transports you back to the fifties.

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With the resurgence of the retro, vintage and Rockabilly culture over the last few years, Yatala Drive In has introduced a retro movie series, with favourites such as sing along versions of Grease and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and kids classics like the Lion King.

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It’s been hugely popular, with plenty of classic cars rocking up, filled with guys and gals in full fifties regalia, giving audiences a rare opportunity to step back in time and enjoy a good old-fashioned night out.

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Growing up, Peter saw all the latest movies and remembers some of the drive in’s biggest crowd draws.

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“Crocodile Dundee was huge! We played it for over six months at a time when we only had one screen!”

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The Yatala Drive In is located at 100 Stapylton Jacobs Well Road,

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Stapylton, QLD 4207

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Cinema Info Line: (07) 3287 2930

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www.fivestarcinemas.com.au

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