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Panoramic / Lunar Drive-in, Dandenong

Venue Summary
Name Panoramic / Lunar Drive-in, Dandenong
Address 115 South Gippsland Highway, Dandenong, Victoria 3175
Operation Dates 1956-05-04 - 9999-12-31
Capacity 1020
Suburban/Country Suburb
Purpose Drive In
Screens 4
1956-05-04 - 1960-01-01 : Exhibitor : Dandenong Drive-In Theatres Pty. Ltd.
1956-05-04 - 1962-01-01 : Exhibitor : Panoramic Drive-In Theatres Pty. Ltd.
1963-01-01 - 1984-01-01 : Exhibitor :
2002-09-01 - 9999-12-31 : Exhibitor : Lunar Drive-in Theatre Dandenong Pty. Ltd.
Venue Comments

The Panoramic Dandenong opened on Friday May 4, 1956 with the action film Assignment Paris. Sessions consisted of either double features or feature and supporting short subjects including newsreel and cartoon.

"The syndicate was new to the cinema game and whilst business was steady in the early days, they were out-grossed by the nearby Village Dandenong North Drive-in on Stud Road when it opened 6 months later. A little further away was Skyline (Hoyts) Oakleigh and, from 1957, the giant Metro Twin at Clayton which both proved formidable opposition.

"In 1963 Village Drive-in Theatres bought out the Panoramic drive-in from Kevin Donnelly and his partners. This resulted in a name change for the Village Dandenong Drive-in on Stud Road to Village Dandenong North, and finally Village Rowville to more correctly reflect its location. The Panoramic became the Village Dandenong.

"Business improved once Village took over with their combined circuit strength, improved film product, marketing and operational abilities. The ramps were expanded further to fit 782 cars. Extension speakers could be attached along the rear boundary fence and cars would regularly park in these positions and on the go-kart track. The theatre filled to capacity on many Saturday nights and the cars lining up to gain admission regularly extended 1km to the railway crossing along Cranbourne Rd (Sth Gippsland Hwy). The drive-in snack bar was expanded in 1967 with the addition of an enlarged seating area at the front. The front wall was simply moved forwards and a new outdoor seating area added. The snack bar was converted to a self serve style.

The years of 1983 and 1984 were devastating to the cinema industry in Australia as the impact of the VCR took hold. It was doubly so for drive-ins as the value of their land had increased and the novelty of the drive-in theatre began to wear off. Village made the decision not to proceed with the twinning of Dandenong partly because of their new alliance with Hoyts Drive-in Theatres and the continuing erosion of the drive-in business in general. The “R” rated double "Sweet Savage" plus "Terror Eyes" closed the drive-in on April 18, 1984 and summed up how the films and the patrons had changed over the years. Village immediately removed all equipment from the site and also removed the screen. The site was purchased by Trash & Treasure Australia Pty Ltd, who had commenced operating a Sunday market on the site in the early 1970’s. The site continued to operate uneventfully as a market site over the ensuing years. After much planning and lengthy negotiations during 2001, planning approval was granted to Anthony Madigan and Matthew Kilderry to operate a drive-in theatre on the site." (Kilderry)

The Lunar Drive-in added it third screen which opened 19 September 2003 and fourth screen on December 27, 2010

Other Information
Closed: 1984 - 2002 Re-opened 19 September 2002

Kilderry, D. 1999 'Australian drive-ins', Drive-ins Downunder, Available at:

Kilderry, D. 2011 'Fourth screen for Lunar' ''Cinema Record, no. 69, p. 5.

'Three new drive-ins this year' The Sun, 8 June 2002, p. 11.

Cinema & Theatre Historical Society 1997, CInema index : Melbourne cinemas, suburban cinemas, Victorian drive-ins. CATHS, Victoria

Film Weekly, Film Weekly: motion picture directory, Film Weekly, Sydney. 1957/8-1971

Film screenings advertised in The Herald until 1968.

Venue Events
Event Date Name of Venue Address Latitude /
Capacity Suburban Purpose Screens
1956-05-04 Panoramic 115 South Gippsland Highway
Victoria 3175
634 Suburb Drive In 1

2002-09-19 Lunar Twin Drive-In

2003-09-18 Lunar

950 3

1020 4


Films Distributor Dates
Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies 1970-01-01 - 1970-01-01
Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies 1970-01-02 - 1970-01-02
Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies 1970-01-03 - 1970-01-03
Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies 1970-01-04 - 1970-01-04
Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies 1970-01-05 - 1970-01-05
Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies 1970-01-06 - 1970-01-06
Those Daring Young Men In Their Jaunty Jalopies 1970-01-07 - 1970-01-07
African Safari 1970-01-08 - 1970-01-08
Father Goose 1970-01-08 - 1970-01-08
African Safari 1970-01-09 - 1970-01-09
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