Drive-in movie theater's online campaign ends today; Wheel-In showing movies on borrowed equipment

Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A Kickstarter campaign to fund digital conversion for the North Olympic Peninsula's only drive-in movie theater had raised more than $30,000 of a $35,000 goal by 5 p.m. Saturday, some 17 hours before it ends this morning.

Pledges had reached $30,391 from 371 backers on the fundraising website at for the Wheel-In Motor Movie at 210 Theatre Road.

The campaign is to help owner Rick Wiley fund conversion to digital projection, which he estimates will cost $70,000.

The theater had missed its usual early-May opening and Wiley, who had removed the 35mm projection equipment, said that without digital equipment, the theater likely would not ever open again.

However, with pledges rolling in from the campaign begun May 14, Wiley began celebrating early.

“In the meantime, we are going to roll the dice and take a leap of faith that we will be successful in our fund drive,” Wiley said on the Wheel-In website at

He borrowed equipment and began showing movies Friday.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and a late show of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” will be shown through tonight.

The box office opens at 8:30 p.m. Show time is at dusk.

Wiley, 57, is the third generation of a theater-managing family that has run the Wheel-In since 1954, as well as the Uptown Theatre at 1120 Lawrence St. in Port Townsend.

He converted the Uptown Theatre to digital in September.

The cost of digital upgrade led to the March 2 closure of the Lincoln Theater in Port Angeles.

Sun Basin Theatres of Wenatchee put the downtown Port Angeles building on the market May 6.

The company had converted Deer Park Cinema east of Port Angeles to digital projection earlier.

The Wheel-In is the only theater on the Peninsula that has not made the conversion.

According to the Kickstarter website, it is also the only drive-in movie theater in the state that has not yet done so.

Last modified: June 07. 2014 7:01PM
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