About Lunar Drive-In
The Lunar Drive-in Theatre Dandenong is the largest drive-in theatre in Australia. We possess four screens that show all the latest blockbusters Hollywood has to offer. We are open every night of the year except Christmas night and run films for only $30 per carload . Your local multiplex charges over $80:00 for a family of five. We believe that films should be affordable for every family so they can visit often.
The Lunar Cafe is open every night. Our kitchen staff prepare real Aussie style hamburgers (including the Lunar Burger with the lot) and other hot snacks all at very competitive prices. So come along early and enjoy a tasty meal before the films. You can sit in our indoor diner booths, or enjoy a balmy evening sitting in our outdoor section with a full view of screen two.
Our Dolby Digital Stereo soundtracks are broadcast via your car’s FM stereo, you can control the volume and settings to suit yourself. Our massive 6500 watt xenon arc lamps and Barco DP2K 32B projectors are the largest regular cinema projectors made in the world and deliver some of the brightest and sharpest images of any large screens in the country.
There are no parking problems, no babysitter concerns and you can come dressed as you are. Come out to the Lunar Drive-in and enjoy a night watching movies under the stars in your cars. The Lunar Drive-in; entertainling you since 1956.
The Lunar Dandenong opened on May 4, 1956 as the Dandenong Panoramic Drive-in Theatre with a single wooden screen and spaces for 650 cars. It was Melbourne’s Olympic year and television was still 6 months away. It was one of the first 10 drive-in theatres built in Australia, the excitement generated by these early pre-television drive-in theatres was enormous. Cars lined up for miles in an attempt to get into one of two sessions per evening. The opening film was the B grade action film "Assignment Paris". The food offering boasted BBQ’s, fish grills and service par excellence.
Only a few months later Village opened a drive-in on Stud Rd Rowville and called it the Dandenong drive-in. Competition was hot between the two Dandenong drive-ins, but confusion reigned for years until Village bought out the Panoramic in the early 1960′s and finally changed the name of the Stud Rd drive-in to Village Rowville. The now Village Dandenong Drive-in installed a large illuminated sign on Cranbourne Rd, as South Gippsland Hwy was then called, and the drive-in continued to trade well throughout the next two decades. The capacity was increased to almost 900 cars and the drive-in was one of the few to possess a walk-in. Patrons without cars could walk to the drive-in and sit in a large room with speakers and a large glass viewing window. It also housed a second food area where BBQ’s and grills were served. The walk-in still remains today and is used as a maintenance shed.
In the early 1980′s the introduction of the VCR caused many drive-ins to suffer. Hoyts and Village drive-ins started closing one by one. Dandenong was one of 22 Melbourne drive-ins sharing an ever diminishing market. Little was re-invested; screen images were often dull, sound was mono Cine-Fi AM at best and many remained as single screen venues. The R rated sex double "Sweet Savage" plus "Terror Eyes" closed the drive-in in 1984 and summed up how the films and the patrons had changed over the years. Upon closure the site was bought by Trash and Treasure and used as a Sunday market site.
After years of careful planning, the Lunar Drive-in team re-built and re-opened the drive-in on September 19, 2002. Two new massive steel screens were erected (and later were joined by screen three and screen four). The old snack bar was rebuilt as the Lunar Cafe, a brand new projection block was constructed and the entire site refreshed. Thousands of cars tuned out in the opening week to see "Austin Powers in Goldmember", "Lilo and Stitch" and "Stuart Little 2".
Today it is the largest drive-in in Australia, serves up tasty and affordable food and offers the best value first release blockbuster films in Melbourne. It is the oldest drive-in theatre still operating in Australia, yet offers state of the art picture and sound presentation on all four screens. Live commentary informs patrons of giveaways and upcoming events and classic old drive-in snack bar film clips run with many films.
The largest screens around deliver bright and sharp images, crisp Dolby Digital Stereo soundtracks are delivered to your car from our FM transmitters.
The Kilderry Brothers and their dedicated staff delight in new customers discovering the fun of the drive-in, so make sure you spread the word by telling your family and friends that you’ve been to the drive-in. Every week more and more people are discovering the great fun and atmosphere enjoyed by watching movies in your car at the Lunar Drive-in Theatre Dandenong. It is the coming together of the two greatest icons of the twentieth century, the automobile and the motion picture.
Enjoy your night!
Drive-ins Downunder – Australian Drive-in history.
Cinema and Theatre Historical Society – Australian Cinema History.
Find out all about motion picture film here.
Film-Tech is all about projection and projectionists.
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