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San Fernando Valley

Drive-In to Be Torn Down for 26-Screen Complex

May 17, 1996

The Winnetka Drive-in Theater in Chatsworth, one of only two left in the San Fernando Valley, will be torn down later this year to make way for one of the largest indoor movie theater complexes in the state.

On the site of the drive-in at Prairie and Winnetka avenues is to be a multimillion-dollar megaplex with shops, restaurants and 26 movie screens capable of seating 5,500 viewers, Pacific Theatres announced Thursday. It is scheduled to open in June 1997.

The Chatsworth complex will have a high-tech digital stereo sound system, stadium-style seating and a large lobby with three concession stands.

Its 26 screens will dwarf the recently opened AMC Theater megaplex in Woodland Hills, which has 16 screens, and the 18-screen Cineplex Odeon theaters at Universal City.

The demise of the Winnetka Drive-in, which the company said was built in the 1970s, will leave the San Fernando Valley with only one outdoor movie theater, the Van Nuys Drive-in, also owned by Pacific Theatres.

The dozens who parked their cars and vans for the Thursday night showing of "Twister"--$5 a head, children under 12 free--were dismayed to find yet another piece of their past about to be paved over.

"It's just something else they're taking away," said Dan Darnell, 36, of Granada Hills, who grew up attending movies at the drive-in.

"They're making money, cramming more in less space, more concrete," he said.

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