Bel Air Drive-In Theatre - Detroit MI

Address: 8600 E 8 Mile Rd
City: Detroit
State: MI
Zip: 48234
County: Wayne
Owner History:
Theater Type: N/A
Number of visits to this page: 41299

Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance, features, addresses, phone numbers, or contact names of the attraction. This site is intended to be a historical as well as current record of various attractions but it is not always possible to have up-to-date information due to the vast number of locations featured here. We ask you consult the propietor for current information.

General Information:

The Bel-Air Drive-In was opened as a single screen, with a car capacity for 1,800. It eventually became a four screen ozoner with a capacity of 3,000 cars. Listed as opening on August 25, 1950 with Ann Sheridan in “Stella” & Donald O'Connor in “Curtain Call at Cactus Creek”. Operated by Community Theatres. The theatre had a model train for kids to ride. Screen 2 opened in 1971. Screen 3 opened in 1982 and screen 4 opened in 1983. It was closed on August 21, 1986. Following demolition the Bel-Air Shopping Center was built on the site.

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Info Updates:
10/16/2003 -
BOX OFFICE MAGAZINE ARTICLE Feb.14,1972: DETROITS FIRST TWIN - ADDITION OF SECOND SCREEN BRINGS CAPACITY OF BEL-AIR DRIVE-IN TO 3,000 CARS "Detroits first twin drive-in theatre, the Bel Air 1 and 2, has proven a bonanza beyond expectations since its opening late last November, according to its owners, the well-known Goldberg twins, Adolph and Irving, founders and owners of Community Theatres of Detroit. The circuit, with with both indoor and drive-in theatres, the Adams and the Grand Circus, neighborhood theatres Punch & Judy, Redford, Royal Oak and Jewel-Mt.Clemens, and two other drive-ins, the Gratiot and Grand River. Well established as Michigans largest drive-in theatre since its opening in 1949 as a 2,200-car facility, the Bel Air became a dual complex after completion of construction undertaken early in 1971, with operation continuing throughout the project. Bel Air 1 now accommodates 1,800 cars, with another 1,200 in Bel Air 2, facing a separate screen tower at the opposite end of the original property. A second and separate concession building services Bel Air 2, and projection buildings are seperate for each of the theatres. Based on an average of three partons per car, this means the facility is capable of accommodating some 9,000 moviegoers. The original entrance, holding area and boxoffices facing heavily traveled Eight Mile Road serve both facilities for year-round operation in all weather conditions with heaters and hard-topped ramps serving all positions. The dual drive-in opened its expanded operation Thanksgiving weekend with "The Organization" headlining the bill in Bel Air 1, and "Play Misty For Me" in Bel Air 2. The Detroit News observed the occasion with a Sunday feature complete with an aerial photo of the site, saluting the Goldbergs for being the first with a twin drive-in, and tracing their activities in building the Community Theatres circuit of indoor and outdoor theatres, following their pre-war introduction to the theatre business as employees of an uncle, Charles Komer, one of of Detroits pioneer exhibitors. One week following the actual opening, an official "Grand Opening" was held, with all twins admitted free and with free gifts to both men and women attending. Ever since its expansion, the Bel Air twin has maintained a high level of grosses compared to seasonal averages, with weekends frequently achieving capacity business in both sides of the theatre.
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