28 Feb
28 February 2018

Last picture show at Manfeild?

NEXT weekend’s outdoor movie double-header at Manfeild might yet be the last picture show at the venue.

So much depends on what sort of turn-out the season finale delivers.

Drive-in movies have been running at the Feilding venue for the past two summers, in either the Manfeild Stadium carpark or on the adjacent oval, and started out as a box office success.

However, dwindling audience counts have led the venue having to consider whether it’s time to stow the big screen.

But there’s one more chance for film buffs to show their support.

Thought is that two 1980s’ American epics, coming-of-age great The Breakfast Club on March 9 and Footloose, a musical rebellion tale, on March 10, should be popular – these being the clear favourite choices from the social media polling that has always been the venue’s preferred method of gauging what to show.

“We’ve always tried to pick films based on popular appeal and have always focussed on the classics, on the theory that good films always stand the test of time,” says Manfeild marketing manager Sarah Hughes.

“The positive feedback about these was definitely strong.”

“However, we won’t know definitively until the actual screenings,” she added.

“This has always been the way with these films and, though in the past we have been happy to take the risk, we are now at the point where we need to have a rethink.

“There is obviously some cost associated with screening movies and if it is not going to be commercially viable then you have to take another look at it all.”

Manfeild went into the movie business in late 2016 and started strongly with a triple-header Labour Weekend screening that went gang-busters.

The screenings over three separate nights of Goodbye Pork Pie, Dirty Dancing and The Rocky Horror Picture Show all pulled bumper-to-bumper crowds.

The nights were also celebrations of a sort that could not be easily recreated in a theatre or home lounge: A lot of Mini owners came to Pork Pie, some with cars from the era, and there was mass dancing in the carpark for the musicals.

Some screenings have been weather-affected, but cancellations have been rare.

Manfeild’s movie nights run with a specialist provider, Wellington-based Firefly Cinemas, and have also involved specialist food providers.

More information about the March 9-10 screenings can be found on the Manfeild website (www.Manfeild.co.nz) and Manfeild Facebook page.

Manfeild Drive-in Movies.jpg

Caption: Drive-in movies have been running at Manfeild for the past two summers.