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Wednesday, 28 May 2014 15:46

‘Idea bulb’ shines bright for The Park After Dark cinemas

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A picture of a similar outdoor screen. A picture of a similar outdoor screen. Photo contributed

A rather innovative and hard-fought-for business venture in Medicine Hat is already attracting attention and it hasn’t officially begun yet.

The Park After Dark Cinemas already has near 1,600 “Likes” on its Facebook page which only began April 29 as eager film fans are excited about the opportunity to watch movies outdoors on a gigantic movie screen.
At the toboggan hill in Kin Coulee Park, Hatters Megan and Nathan Nunweiler will be putting movies up on a 40-foot by 22.5-foot viewing area which works out to be 46 feet diagonally.
“We have a nice park and we come down here a lot,” explains Megan. “We would sit there and think it was a shame this toboggan hill doesn’t get used in the summer.”
Movies will be shown on Fridays and Saturdays in June and Thursday, Friday and Saturdays during the month of August. June 6 will kick off three months of the opportunity to watch a family movie followed by a teen/adult feature.
The couple are originally from Medicine Hat, but because of work-related commitments moved to Regina. While there they saw a movie on one of these outdoor theatre screens.
Megan explains when they moved back to Medicine Hat, the drive-in theatre in Redcliff had long since closed and been torn down.
They missed it, but remembered the outdoor theatre they had seen in Saskatchewan.
“We just loved it,” explains Megan. “Watching a movie outdoors, somehow it’s just better in the summer. You can relax, walk down there, bring your dog, it’s just relaxing. It’s so gorgeous there.”
Neither are full-time business entrepreneurs. Nathan is a gas marketing business support analyst for the City of Medicine Hat while Megan works at the hospital.
They did their homework though. The couple investigated the purchasing of the equipment necessary to host these shows. The Nunweilers have been working with a company in California — the same ones which put on the recent major Coachella concert and which works with Six Flags Amusement Park.
Besides the equipment, the Nunweilers were busy working with the City of Medicine Hat to get licensing agreements as well securing a venue and noise bylaw permits.
“It really fell into place for us, granted it took two years,” says Nathan. “I have to give a lot of credit to Megan. She’s super-organized. Megan did a great amount of work with the City. Anything they needed she had it all filed (properly).”
The price is right too. Nathan says keeping the costs down is critical. It’s a flat fee of $5 per person (over the age of two). Plus, they will have concessions there featuring businesses such as the locally-famous Swirls Ice Cream, Il Forno Vagabondo wood-fired pizza and Parker Family Concessions.
“Plus, we allow families to bring food in,” explains Nathan. “We want to keep it viable year after year. That means we keep the costs down for people. We’re also looking for some local sponsors.”
People can see what movies are playing by checking the Monday before the week’s event on the website:; Facebook page: or twitter account: @ParkAfterDarkMH.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor