SHINNSTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — After the Sunset Ellis Restaurant in Shinnston officially closed its doors, owners have now switched their focus to trying to keep the Sunset Ellis Drive-In movie theater up and running.

After their projector room was vandalized during the off-season, workers had to get new parts for their antique projector to show movies. They were able to open for one weekend in June but then hit another problem when the projector stopped working again.  

The projector room that was vandalized during the off-season (WBOY Image).

Owner Anthony Ellis said the projector was made by a company in Canada which makes it difficult to find technicians and parts. After a long search, he said they found a technician from Akron that will come out to the drive-in to help, but Ellis remains unsure about the outcome for the rest of the season. 

“I’m not going to hope for too much anymore,” Ellis said. “I hope we can fix it, but I don’t know that. We want to keep the drive-in going as long as we can because there’s still only four drive-ins in the state of West Virginia. (There) used to be 71. Now there’s only four.” 

The projector at Sunset Ellis Drive-in (WBOY Image)

The projector that they are trying to fix has been used by the drive-in for six years, according to Ellis. He said they got it used from someone in Texas for a discounted price when they wanted to switch over to a digital projector. Ellis said a new projector would’ve cost them $100,000 at the time, but they got it for nearly $30,000.  

“It did very well in that term period, but these guys jerking all the wires out, when we were vandalized, out of the projector, taking all the computers everything that was a wire they jerked out, so they caused some problems,” Ellis said.  

If the projector does get back up and running the Sunset Ellis Drive-in season will run until Labor Day Weekend.