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Rose City Drive-In Cinema Reopens in Wayne County, New York

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Before closing in 1985, “Ghostbusters” was the last film shown at the Rose City Drive-In. When it reopens on April 5, the first film to be shown will be “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.”

Like the blockbuster about pesky paranormal creatures, the movie theater under the stars at 5418 Route 31 West, just outside of Newark, Wayne County, is getting a sequel. The new owner Paul Cole couldn't have planned it that way.

“It was pure luck,” said the 53-year-old Newark resident. “The movie just came out last week.”

When he completed the purchase of the 17-acre site last year, “the only thing there was the screen and a lot of scrub brush,” he said.

Review: The overgrown vegetation was removed and the screen, which is 100 feet wide and 45 feet tall, was given a new look using bondo and paint. A state-of-the-art 55,000 lumen laser projector and a new digital marquee were installed. And in a new 2,500-square-foot concession building, moviegoers can purchase pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, soda, popcorn, nachos and candy.

Friday's screening of “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” begins at 7:30 p.m. and is part of the 370-car venue's soft opening phase. Tickets (available at rosecitydrivein.com and at the gate) are $8 for ages 12 and older; $6 for children ages 5 to 11; Free for children under 5 years old.

Next week, when the normal double-feature format begins, ticket prices will rise to $10 and $8.

How much will it cost Cole to bring the 68-year-old attraction back to life (which included installing new power and sewage treatment systems)? “I’m probably creeping up on three-quarters of a million dollars,” he said.

It's not his only business.

He also owns SuperGen Products, a Newark company that sells generators and other equipment, and operates Lands of Legends Raceway in Canandaigua.

“I’m just drinking from the proverbial fire hose,” he said.

However, he is grateful that he was able to strike a deal with the drive-in's previous owners, the Colacino family, who had a sentimental attachment to the place.

Cole too. His parents brought him to Rose City as a child.

“It was a thing people did in the ’70s. We had four TV channels and there were no iPhones or Netflix. So you went to the drive-in,” he said.

Under his leadership, it will continue to be a destination for family fun, as evidenced by the ground rules posted online: No swearing, no loud talking, no alcohol and no marijuana, including in vehicles.

Shoes must be worn at all times, walking around the drive-in is not permitted and “children must be supervised at all times and parents are responsible for their children's actions.”

In addition to premieres, Rose City also shows classics.

Plus, “We have a stage, so we’re going to do some concerts,” Cole said. “And we do other events as well, so if anyone wants to have a flea market, a farmers market or a car show.”

Regardless of the programming, however, the goal is the same: “to put a smile on people’s faces if you can,” he said.

Reporter Marcia Greenwood covers general assignments. Send story tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @MarciaGreenwood.