Rose City Drive-In

5440 Highway 31,
Newark, NY 14513

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Previously operated by: Cinemette Corporation of America, Dipson Circuit

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Rose City Drive-In

The Rose City Drive-In opened July 19, 1956 with James Stewart in “The Man from Laramie” & Jane Russell in “Hot Blood”. It was closed on October 6, 1985 with Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters” & Jeff Bridges in"Starman". In 2020 only the screen is left standing. Renovations began in 2023 with a planned soft opening in the fall of 2023 and to fully reopen in 2024.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on February 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm

If this is it HERE then it looks like the screen is still standing tall… Everything else is gone…

In the 5400 Block of W. Hwy 31.

dhroc
dhroc on August 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I snuck in dozens of times. You could just walk over the hill next to the theatre and sit on the hillside and watch and hear the movies perfectly.

Texas2step
Texas2step on September 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm

This one opened on July 19, 1956.

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on October 3, 2020 at 8:39 am

Opened with “The man from Latamie” and “Hot blood”. 700 cars. Closed in 1981. The site is now there abandoned(the screen is there, all the other structures are gone).

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on April 27, 2023 at 1:23 pm

“I remember coming here as a kid,” said Cole, a local businessman who owns SuperGen Products in Newark and is the promoter of Land of Legends Raceway at the Ontario County Fairgrounds in Hopewell. “They used to have a playground in the back (toward Route 31). We were here the night my mother broke water with my brother. That was 1975.”

In 1981, the drive-in featured its last picture show.

Cole blames the drive-in’s demise on the VHS tape, which resulted in an explosion of home viewing. Theaters of the outdoor and indoor variety were affected by the change in movie-viewing habits, he said.

In its day, though, Rose City could pack them in.

“They designed it for 750 cars,” he said.

Cole thinks he could pull in 500-600 cars during the first few nights he reopens Rose City.

“It’ll taper off,” he said. “Three-hundred cars is a lot of people.”

Cole purchased the property from the Colacino family of Gene and Kenna. Gene died in 2003, but the property remained in the family until Cole was able to strike a deal after expressing interest years ago. He closed on the property in March.

“It’s just been sitting here,” he said, adding that several others have made overtures on the land. “I’ve been a friend of the family. Gene did a lot for this community.”

The work to restore the drive-in — it opened July 19, 1956, with James Stewart in “The Man from Laramie” and Jane Russell in “Hot Blood” — has begun. The large lot setback from Route 31 has been cleared of the many trees that sprung up since its closing more than four decades ago, especially near the 100-by-45-foot movie screen.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on May 11, 2023 at 10:29 am

Amplifying and updating Drive-In 54’s note, WROC reported yesterday that Paul Cole is investing $500,000 to rebuild the Rose City. “Right now, Cole plans to have a soft launch in the fall, and have an official opening next April.”

There’s also a YouTube video of the report.

(And BTW, that Drive-In 54 note is a verbatim account of an April 25 story in the Finger Lake Times.)

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on May 11, 2023 at 10:45 am

I am saddened by the lack of historical curiosity, or maybe it’s fact-checking, or maybe it’s just pedantry, in some of today’s newsrooms. It took me one minute at Newspapers.com to find that the Rose City was still active in September 1985. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle wrote on Sept. 29 that the drive-in was showing “Volunteers” and “Heaven Help Us.” That would explain why a 1985 aerial photo showed the Rose City still intact.

That was the most recent note I could find. I’ll leave discovery of the exact final date to someone with more time to search for it. ;)

50sSNIPES
50sSNIPES on May 11, 2023 at 3:28 pm

The Rose City Drive-In closed on October 6, 1985 with “Ghostbusters” and “Starman”. The Rochester Democrat didn’t demonstrate any showings from the 1986 season or later.

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