Drive-in movie theater opening at Ballpark Commons in Franklin

40-foot LED board to screen movies daily

The site of The Milky Way Drive-In at Ballpark Commons. Photo credit: ROC Ventures

Last updated on May 28th, 2020 at 03:40 pm

The Ballpark Commons mixed-use development in Franklin will soon be the site of a new outdoor drive-in movie theater, called The Milky Way Drive-In.

The Milwaukee Milkmen minor league professional baseball team announced on Friday that it has partnered up with Franklin Tourism and Milwaukee-based Studio Gear to open the 150-vehicle theater, starting Memorial Day weekend.

The Milky Way’s 40-foot LED board will screen two shows daily when the Milkmen are playing out of town, with family-oriented films slated for the early shows and more mature fare in the evening. There is also a weekly late-night feature planned for high school-age teens and young adults.

Additional information including movie programming, show times, pricing and COVID-19 health safety policies will be announced next week, according to a news release.

“Given our current shared challenge in combating COVID-19 via social distancing, the drive-in concept is a great way to gradually and safely ‘return to community’,” said Mike Zimmerman, CEO of ROC Ventures, developer of the Ballpark Commons and owner of the Milwaukee Milkmen.

The Milky Way will serve food and beverage offerings from the Milkmen’s adjacent stadium, including a rotating selection of local food trucks and partners. Patrons can have concessions delivered to their cars via a “car hop” option.

Studio Gear provides AV and lighting equipment rentals, production service and sales to clients across the U.S. Its LED technology will allow the drive-in theater to screen content day or night. Sound will be transmitted via radio frequency.

The company recently secured additional gear for the Democratic National Convention, set to be help in Milwaukee during the week of August 17.

“When large events began canceling due to COVID-19, we found ourselves sidelined,” said Mike Atkins, general manager of Studio Gear. “The Milky Way Drive-In is a fantastic outlet for our technology and expertise – it’s hard to imagine a more ideal partnership.”

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.