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7:55 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Movie night: Arizona Mobile Cinema recreates old-time drive-in feeling

The Daily Courier/Nathaniel Kastelic
People lounge on the lawn of a Heritage Park ball field to enjoy Arizona Mobile Cinema’s feature presentation of “Night at the Museum” Saturday in Prescott.

The Daily Courier/Nathaniel Kastelic People lounge on the lawn of a Heritage Park ball field to enjoy Arizona Mobile Cinema’s feature presentation of “Night at the Museum” Saturday in Prescott.

Remember the old drive-in movies - barely audible speakers on window frames, large buckets of popcorn and cool breezes wafting through silent automobiles after a scorching summer day? People of all ages could enjoy a big screen movie at a bargain price.

On Saturday evening, tri-city residents experienced something of that old-time feeling as they watched "Night at the Museum" under the cool evening sky at Heritage Park.

Arizona Mobile Cinema has reinvented the drive-in concept with its movies on the go anytime, anywhere.

"What more can you ask for at the end of a hot day," asked Cindy Campbell of Prescott. "I'm sitting under a beautiful sky, watching the sunset and seeing a free and fun movie. Prescott is good for having stuff like this."

"It makes for a wonderful family event," said Julie Medlin, co-owner with husband Adam, of Arizona Mobile Cinema, based in Flagstaff. "We want to provide outdoor entertainment to the community. In memory of drive-ins, we've brought this reality to the surface and fine-tuned it."

Not only is Arizona Mobile Cinema a treat for the neighborhood, it is an opportunity for businesses in the area to advertise their name on the big screen.

"Businesses can connect with their community by displaying their banner, which is projected in a PowerPoint presentation before the show," Julie said. "It is very successful as shown statistically with Harkins movie theatre shows. This is a new avenue to advertise and we have several different sponsorship packages."

The Medlins have secured a public performance license from each of the jurisdictions they visit, which allows them to show just about anything that is available on DVD. "Disney is more restrictive," she said. "They only allow some movies to be shown at certain times outdoors. We can show 'Cars' from Aug. 30 to Sept. 30. I don't know why that is."

The Saturday evening event is the eighth for Yavapai County. "We are working with the town of Prescott Valley to expand our 'Thank Goodness It's Thursday' movie night to a weekly movie series from May to September," Julie said.

"This is a great, safe environment for families," said Michelle Stacy of Prescott Valley. "I can bring my son and it's great entertainment at no cost."

"I would love to see the mayor here," said Tom West of Prescott, while eating a piece of Spiderman birthday cake. "We're celebrating and hanging out with family. Look round, you see everybody from newborns to older people." "This is clean and free family fun in our hometown," added Dave Peterson of Prescott.

This is the second season for Arizona Mobile Cinema. The Medlins researched screens and equipment before they took their show on the road. They use Truss style rear projection screens, a high-resolution DLP projector, a custom sound system consisting of Behringer Eurolive, BOSE 802III and JBL subwoofers and FM transmission for that unique "drive-in" experience.

The screens range in size from 6 x 8 feet to 13 x 22.5 feet. "You get a quality image and the screens can stand 30-mile-an-hour winds," Adam said. "And all of our equipment collapses down to fit in our small trailer."

The remaining shows for this summer are July 20 at the Cottonwood Aquatic Center and Aug. 4 at Heritage Park. "We are primarily serving northern Arizona," Julie said. "But we'll set up anywhere. For more information, visit their Web site at www.azmobilecinema.com.