The second weekend of drive-in movies at the fairgrounds sold out before the first one even happened.
The joint venture between the fairgrounds and the Paramount Theatre debuts Friday with a showing of “Grease.” When they went on sale two weeks ago, tickets sold out in half an hour. Last week, tickets went on sale for next weekend’s shows — “Dirty Dancing” on June 10 and “Jurassic Park” on June 11 — and they sold out even faster.
“It was probably less than 15 minutes,” said Paramount Executive Director Eric Mallette.
Mallette said the speed of the sales has served as proof-of-concept for the drive-in, reassuring the Paramount and fairgrounds it should be sustainable through the summer.
“We went into this blindly,” he said. “Rutland hasn’t had a drive-in in decades.”
But Mallette said, they are ready to go.
“We’re going to test the technology one more time tonight,” he said on Tuesday. “The screen is up. The screen is painted. It looks incredible. ... When you think of the people who came together to make this happen, it’s incredible.”
Tangled licensing rights led to a last-minute change of the opening-night movie — originally planned to be “Jaws” — and delayed the Paramount from announcing the lineup.
July is firmed up though, with “Dirty Dancing” and “Jurassic Park” to be followed by “Shrek” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” on July 17 and 18, “Footloose” (the Kevin Bacon original) and “The Great Outdoors” on July 24 and 25, and “Smokey and the Bandit” on July 31. On top of all that, moviegoers will get to see Center Street disappear under water in “Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke” by Rutland’s own David Giancola, slated for a Thursday showing on July 23.
Mallette said “Jurassic Park” holds a special place in his heart as the first movie he ever saw with a rating above PG.
“It was a friend’s 8th birthday party,” he said. “I was trying to be the cool kid, but I definitely hid my eyes in a number of the scenes.”
Mallette said he has tentative agreements for the August movies, but that he won’t get confirmations until mid-July.
“I’m hesitant to release anything,” he said. “I don’t want another ‘Jaws’ incident.”