Owners of the Midway Drive-In are sounding a call to arms – in this case, the chiseled, claw-clad arms of comic book hero Wolverine.
With the support of area movie fans, Mike Kerz, the 48-year-old owner of the Midway Drive-In, thinks he can attract actor Hugh Jackman and the mutant cast of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” to Sterling, where they will screen the world premiere of the fourth installment in a movie franchise that has grossed nearly $1.2 billion at the box office.
From now through April 17, 20th Century Fox is holding a “Small Town America” competition, where the winning rural theater will host the premiere.
HOW TO VOTE
Go to x-menorigins.com/premiere and click on “VOTE” at the top of the screen.
Voters must enter 61021 (the Midway Drive-In’s ZIP code). Entering a ZIP other than Dixon will spoil the vote.
The deadline to vote is April 17. Contest winner will be announced on April 20.
The world premiere and Hugh Jackman will appear at the winning theater on Monday, April 27.
“It would be great for the community. The nation’s spotlight would be shining right here in Dixon,” Kerz said. “It would be really cool if the premiere could come here because the drive-in is a superb slice of Americana.”
Kerz, and his wife, Mia Kerz, are gearing up for their third season at the Midway, home to Illinois’ oldest standing drive-in screen, and the second-oldest drive-in in the state.
Since buying the open-air venue in 2007, the Kerzes have poured more than $100,000 into restoring it to the look it had when it opened in 1950.
Recent improvements include a rebuild of the projector and bulb housing for better picture quality on the 90-foot screen, and a rebuild of the concession stand to a 1950s-era diner, complete with personal jukeboxes tacked to the wall.
“I kind of grew up going to the drive-in ... and the Midway is like a time warp,” Kerz said.
“The Midway has been here for a couple generations,” Kerz said. “Our goal is for it to be here for future generations.”
DRIVE-IN SEASON OPENS SATURDAY
The Midway Drive-In, 91 Palmyra Road, Dixon, opens Saturday with a triple feature of horror films – “While She Was Out,” “Friday the 13th,” and a yet-to-be announced closer – that will start at dusk.
More family-friendly movies will follow the next weekend with “Monsters vs. Aliens” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”
Movies start at dusk every Friday and Saturday from April 24 through mid-October, weather permitting.
For more information, call 847-478-0119 or visit themidwaydrivein.net online.