Carl Gianotti, the owner and founder of Macomb County Drive-in Movies says this year’s Freedom Hill film season will run into the fall.

Carl Gianotti, the owner and founder of Macomb County Drive-in Movies says this year’s Freedom Hill film season will run into the fall.

Photo provided by Carl Gianotti

Freedom Hill to host drive-in movies

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 7, 2021


STERLING HEIGHTS — While normalcy after COVID-19 might not be here quite yet, drive-in movies are returning to Freedom Hill County Park starting this May.

Carl Gianotti, the owner and founder of Macomb County Drive-in Movies, said springtime is perfect for getting outside to have fun. He started running drive-in films at the Freedom Hill site last year as a response to the challenges COVID-19 brought. He said last year went so well that he wants to do it again.

“Families like it. People love it. They’re happy to see the drive-in movies back. It’s like a giant tailgate party before the movie — people sitting in their chairs and blankets.”

The venue has a 32-foot LED screen that is raised up 15 feet “so everyone can see,” he said.

Gianotti said the film season will last through the summer and into the fall, until Oct. 17. This month, the venue promises a mixture of classic films like “Jaws,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Top Gun,” as well as modern ones like “Moana” and “Avengers: Endgame.” Typically, on a night with two films, the first is more family-friendly, while the second often has more action, he explained.

Gianotti said admission costs $25 per vehicle per movie. According to the drive-in’s website, patrons may arrive to get a spot as early as 45 minutes before the movie starts, but they must leave as soon as the movie ends.

The drive-in bans RVs and pets, and people are asked to maintain social distancing when possible. Patrons will need to wear a mask while using the bathrooms. Food trucks will be available, and people may not bring their own barbecues. Chairs, pillows and blankets are allowed, though patrons must stay in their 15-by-20-foot spot. The movies will be held rain or shine, without refunds.

Gianotti added that the drive-in theater is available to rent for private events, businesses or charities. He said it allows “a win-win for everyone” when it comes to nonprofits looking for ways to raise money.

The nonprofit Families Against Narcotics is an example of one private group that is taking advantage of the offer. It will host a 5:30 p.m. May 13 drive-in movie fundraiser with “Back to the Future” at the drive-in site.

Admission for this special event costs $75 per vehicle, though organizers say DeLoreans will be admitted for free. The fundraiser will raise money for FAN’s programs, which aim to assist people in overcoming addiction.

Organizers say social distancing measures will be in place, and moviegoers may purchase food items and enter a raffle. FAN spokeswoman Kelley Nahas said her organization is excited to open the season.

“It’s going to be a fun-filled event to raise money for the organization,” she said. “We’re going to have a DJ and a photo booth with food trucks for people to enjoy ‘Back to the Future.’ We have never used this venue. This is the first time we’re doing this.”

Learn more about Macomb County Drive-in Movies at Freedom Hill County Park, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway in Sterling Heights — including schedule updates and rules — by visiting Learn more about the Families Against Narcotics event by visiting


The following schedule is currently available for May:

• May 14, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” at 6 p.m. and “Back to the Future” at 9:30 p.m.

• May 16, “The Greatest Showman” at 6 p.m. and “Spider-Man: Far from Home” at 9:30 p.m.

• May 21, “Moana” at 6 p.m. and “Jaws” at 9:30 p.m.

• May 22, “Top Gun” at 9:30 p.m.

• May 23, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” at 5 p.m. and “Back to the Future” at 8:30 p.m.

• May 28, “The Croods: A New Age” at  6 p.m. and “Jurassic Park” (1993) at 9:30 p.m.

• May 29, “Trolls World Tour” at  6 p.m. and “Jaws” at 9:30 p.m.

• May 30, “Incredibles 2” at 5 p.m. and “Avengers: Endgame” at 8:45 p.m.