Dubbo Westview Drive-In patrons may feel the Force when the outdoor cinema screens two Star Wars movies from the original blockbuster trilogy this month.
The attraction has secured The Empire Strikes Back for September 12 and two weeks later on September 25 it will open the gates again for Return of the Jedi.
The films, which have fans worldwide, make up two of a run of weekends of screenings leading up to the drive-in's 50th anniversary celebrations in October.
Enthusiasts will have a chance to spot Star Wars' iconic villain Darth Vader, as well as a storm trooper and an imperial guard within the grounds on September 12, before the classic opening line "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" appears on the big screen.
A spokesman for the drive-in operator said there had been efforts to secure the classic space trilogy since the drive-in's revival started in 2017 and they had finally succeeded.
"So pretty excited to see those amazing films up on the big screen, especially with the words scrolling up the screen on the stars, I think it will look amazing with the stars up behind the screen," he said.
In the days since the drive-in announced it would screen The Empire Strikes Back, there had been a "really, really positive" response.
It builds on the growing momentum of the attraction, a trend seen in drive-ins across the world in the COVID era.
The drive-in has rebounded after March's lockdown postponed the sell-out Running on Empty event and led to serious discussions about its future.
The spokesman said in recent times patrons were coming from as far away as Sydney and Newcastle, including the experience on trips made inland while overseas borders were closed.
"Some people there from Sydney not long back, and they were talking about how they would have been in Canada, at that time, but they'd hired a motorhome and they were travelling out, and stopped at Dubbo," he said.
"And they were heading out to Lightning Ridge and exploring some of Australia."
Saturday night's screening of Footrot Flats was close to selling out, he said.
"...I think people are looking for a safe alternative [since COVID]... and doing something different where they can go out with their family and enjoy time together, because there's still not a lot of things happening for people to be able to go out and enjoy somewhat of a social activity," he said.
"We've got movies on now for the next seven weekends straight, I don't think the drive-in's had this many movies on it since 1984."
The 50th anniversary celebration will feature Running on Empty on October 3 and Grease on October 4.
The spokesman said they were looking at screening movies mid-week during the school holidays.
- September 5: Footrot Flats
-September 12: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
-September 19: Stepbrothers
- September 25: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
- October 3: Running on Empty
- October 4: Grease