HomeDrive-In TheatersSunset Drive-In Theatre - Midland, MI

Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Midland MI

Address: 4705 Bay City Rd
City: Midland
State: MI
Zip: 48640
County: Midland
Open: 1950 (8-12-50) AD
Closed: <1988>
Capacity: 450
Owner History: Ashmun, National Amusements/Redstone Theatres
Number of visits to this page: 17637
General Information:

AKA Midland

The Sunset Drive-In opened in August of 1950 and was operated by Ashmun Theatres. Car capacity was listed at 450 cars with a single screen. It later was operated by National Amusements. The drive-in closed in possibly 1988 and has since been demolished.

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Info Updates:
6/22/2016 - Tammy BB
I remember going there with such fond memories, I wish it would have still been open to take my kids there (or now my grandsons). The first time I remember going there, was about 1970 or so, and we went there as an extended-family outing -my Mom, brothers, & me, and my Aunt and her kids as well. We saw Snoopy Come Home, I still remember how fun that night was! We didn't have a lot of money growing up, so my Mom always made popcorn and a jug of Kool-Aid, & sometimes sandwiches (instead of buying Concessions there). We also saw Jaws there, and the BIG screen really makes a difference! As a teenager, we would go almost weekly. The first movie I saw WITHOUT parents in tow was Conan the Barbarian. What FUN!! They really need to open up Drive-Ins again for the new generations to enjoy, as we did growing up. I miss the closeness of times before cell phones and other gadgets! Thanks for listing the Sunset on here and letting me reminisce!.
11/12/2013 - Jeff Dorman
My parents took me to see Jaws at the Sunset in 1975. I was 9. I started out playing on the playground equipment under the screen but when that fin made it's apearance I high-tailed it back to the car and spent the rest of the movie peaking out from the back seat. Quite a memory.
8/5/2013 - Tom
I remember going to the Sunset in the 1960's. My parents took my sister and I to see Thomasena, my cousin Ken's wife Ruth took us and our second cousin Linda to see The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and a friend of mine and his mom took me to see Thoroghley Modern Millie.
2/12/2013 - cosmo
I grew up going to this drive-in. My brother and I would get in our pajamas while mom popped a grocery bag full of popcorn. Dad would then drive to the old A&W on the corner of Bay City and Saginaw roads and buy a gallon jug of root beer. At the drive-in, my brother and I would sit on a blanket on the roof of our station wagon and watch the movie. In later years they started showing horror and soft core. A lot of partying went on in the lot and it was no longer a family place. They used to have nights where you could pay once price for the whole car. One kid drove an old school bus his father owned packed with people and parked across the back. They all piled out with lawn chairs and opened the rear doors on the bus where they had a keg tapped. If you parked on James Savage or climbed the hill across the road you could see the screen and watch the movie without sound. Had a lot of fun at this place too bad they are all but gone now.
1/14/2011 - Dan McGillivray
We didn’t have a TV when we went to the Sunset Drive-in in the early ‘50’s. I always knew we were going when I smelled Mom popping corn a few hours after dinner. She would pop enough to fill a large grocery bag and then pour butter and salt in and shake it up. Sometimes we could take one of my friends. I don’t remember what I saw but I’ll never forget the time a strip show came on during intermission. Mom was fussing at Dad and he was saying he had no idea they showed things like that. I was told to turn around and put my head down. That only happened once in all the times we went. I have good memories of taking dates there during my high school years as well.
7/27/2009 - Jeff Ross
The Sunset Movie Theater of Midland was an incredible place for me when I was growing up. At home we only had a black and white TV but we could see color movies at the Sunset. We would bring brown paper grocery bags filled with popcorn and my parents would park our station wagon backwards with the tailgate down so us kids could lay on blankets and watch the movies. We would arrive while it was still light out and play on the swingset and other playground equipment at the base of the screen until dusk.

When the movie, "The Love Bug," came out, there was a Volkswagon Beetle painted exactly like the movie car parked out front at the entrance of the theater. It may have been one of the actual movie cars for all I know. Back then there were only limited copies of a movie made and they would travel a circuit so it is possible that the car went with the movie reel.

I had joined the Marines and moved away after I graduated high school so I was not around when they closed the theater. It was a sad day when I returned to town many years later and found an empty lot where this great theater had been.
10/18/2007 - Midland Daily News
In June 1977, arson was suspected in a $50,000 early morning fire that destroyed the Sunset. The 24x60-foot screen collapsed in flames before firefighters arrived. A separate fire 200 yards away in the projection and concession building caused only slight damage. The theater reopened with a new screen 9 days later. No further info, sorry. In June 1984, six minors were ticketed in the beginning of a crackdown on illegal drinking at the theater. In an incident a week earlier, two city police officers were surrounded and had to dodge beer cans thrown at them. As many as 1,500 people in their mid-teens to early 20s were at the theater on Wednesdays, when admission was only $1.50. Capt. Pat Dean said half of the crowd were "kids less than 21" and that police saw kegs and fleeing youth, and had to dump "a numerous quantity" of beer. About 10 uniformed officers and some undercover officers patrolled that night, and an unmarked cruiser was pelted with stones. By the next Wednesday, drinking had been banned by theater management. The Sunset's last summer of operation was 1988.
6/7/2006 - Deb C.
People always used to say that they could pay for the driver and one passenger at the entrance, but bring extra people in the trunk of their car. I never knew anyone who did it, though. I remember coming to the Sunset with my parents as a child, but I dont remember what movies we saw. The coolest things were how the speaker fit on the partially-opened window, how you could go out in the darkness and buy popcorn to bring back to the car, and how you could fall asleep in the back if you felt like it. Was there a time when they showed X-rated movies at the Sunset? Maybe it was just extreme R-rated ones that I remember high-school friends telling me about. The story was that you could go to this one hill and be able to watch the screen, if you didnt care about the sound. That would be about the only positive reason I could find for not having drive-in theatres any more. As good family fun, I miss them a lot!
5/2/2005 - Chazz Miner
I remember when I was young there was a cross on top of the projection building. Between 1971 and 1975 Trinity Lutheran Church hled fairly succesfull drive-in, early sunday, services there.
5/2/2005 - Chazz Miner
This Drive-in closed in 1988, The last movie I remember seeing there was "Dont Go In the House", and that was in the Summer of 87. Some of my all time favorite movies, to this day, were viewed by my young eyes (pre-teen) there. Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. Two movies soooo meant for that big screen., I remember when I was young there was a cross on top of the projection building. Between 1971 and 1975 Trinity Lutheran Church hled fairly succesfull drive-in, early sunday, services there.
1/6/2003 - WaterWinterWonderland
The lot is now empty.

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Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Old Photo From Ron Gross
Old Photo From Ron Gross
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Sunset Screen 1950
Sunset Screen 1950
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Waiting For The Movie To Start
Waiting For The Movie To Start
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Now An Empty Lot - Photo From Water Winter Wonderland
Now An Empty Lot - Photo From Water Winter Wonderland
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - May 21 2022
May 21 2022
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - May 21 2022
May 21 2022
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Driveway - Photo From Water Winter Wonderland
Driveway - Photo From Water Winter Wonderland
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - For Sale - Photo From Water Winter Wonderland
For Sale - Photo From Water Winter Wonderland
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Old Ad
Old Ad
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - July 31St 1953 From Jim Twinning
July 31St 1953 From Jim Twinning
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Sunset Ad August 1962
Sunset Ad August 1962
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Dec 22 1972 Ad
Dec 22 1972 Ad
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Aerial - Photo From Terraserver
Aerial - Photo From Terraserver
Sunset Drive-In Theatre - Live Search
Live Search
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