Sunset Drive-In

3935 W. Dixon Boulevard,
Shelby, NC 28150

342 cars

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Colonial Theatres

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 704.434.7782
Manager: 704.434.7782

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Sunset Drive-In

The Sunset Drive-In was opened prior to 1952, when it was operated by Colonial Theatres. A family-owned business with family entertainment in mind. The Sunset Drive-In has been a fun family tradition for several generations in the Shelby, NC area.

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday offering an inexpensive night out for the whole family to get together and watch two movies for only $7 a car load. We can hold about 420 cars. Come early for good parking. Bring chairs and blankets to watch the movies under the stars or just sit in your car. Visit the staff inside the snack bar and pig out on our great burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, chilli cheese fries, French fries, popcorn, drinks and candy. Come early and play frisbee or toss the ball around with the kids in the grassy area in front of the screen.

Come join our “drive-in family” and make “us” a part of yours. Carry on the tradition to the next generation. It was closed at the end of the 2021 season.

Contributed by Sunset Drive In Theater

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Patsy on February 9, 2009 at 12:41 pm

LM: Great photo of this drive-in that I didn’t get to see in my travels to Shelby last week.

Patsy on February 9, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Didn’t notice that you had posted this drive-in photo almost a year ago prior to my recent follow-up post. We’re thinking along the same lines…only several months apart!

lisawhitman on March 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I am working on a research project for school on Drive-In Movie Theaters in NC! Any informaton that anyone has would be greatly apreciated! Thanks!

Heather1 on October 24, 2014 at 8:03 am

What time do the movies start?

raysson on February 9, 2015 at 12:01 pm

The Sunset was one of the five drive-ins in the state of North Carolina that upgraded to digital projection.

MichaelKilgore on November 18, 2017 at 11:00 pm

The 1952 Theatre Catalog lists the Sunset owned by Colonial Ths., capacity 300. The 1955-56 edition raised that to 342.

The 1952-63 Motion Picture Almanacs listed the Sunset in Swainsville and owned by Colonial Theatres Inc., capacity 300. The MPA said that in 1953 it was the first drive-in for the small chain, based in Valdese NC, then run by general manager G. D. Carpenter. It wasn’t listed in the 1966-69 editions, but returned in Shelby for the 1972-76 editions.

When owner info returned in the 1978-82 editions, the Sunset was still owned by Colonial. For 1984-88, it was owned by Benfield Th.

Modern accounts say that Rick Stinnett, whose family built and ran the Bessemer City Kings Mountain Drive-In until it closed after the 2014 season, bought the Sunset in 1985. He spent $100,000 to remodel and convert the projection room in early 2014.

MichaelKilgore on June 24, 2022 at 1:34 pm

The Sunset’s final show (for the season?) was Sept. 11, 2021. As of now, its web site is now lapsed, its Facebook page hasn’t been updated all year, and its phone recording still says it’s closed for the season. I hope it reopens, but for now I consider it closed.

orphanshayne on April 8, 2023 at 9:35 am

Saddened to learn this drive-in closed recently. I went to college nearby and it was always a fun thing to do on the weekend.

MichaelKilgore on April 24, 2023 at 4:58 pm

After the Sunset was closed for all of 2022, on March 5, 2023, it posted to Facebook: “This is a bittersweet moment for our family. However it is time for dad to retire and enjoy life. If anyone is truly interested please email at

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