Hilltop Drive-Inn

Highway 9 and W. Highway 18,
Gregory, SD 57533

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Additional Info

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 605.835.9999

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Hilltop Drive-Inn

One of only a handful of outdoor movie theatres still in operation in South Dakota, the Hilltop Drive-Inn opened in 1946. The theatre can accommodate 240 cars. It features both car radio and speaker sound. This classic drive-in’s season runs from May to October.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

MichaelKilgore on June 1, 2017 at 8:09 am

The Hilltop’s Facebook page doesn’t show any listings yet for 2017. Its top post is a GoFundMe campaign for a digital projector. “Without a new projector they are unable to get current movie titles!”

MichaelKilgore on June 1, 2017 at 8:17 am

Then I called the Hilltop’s information line, which talked about the “brighter” picture available now and said the movie for “this weekend” is The Boss Baby. Which suggests that (a) the Hilltop is alive for the 2017 season, (b) they somehow found a digital projector, and © they’re not first-run.

MichaelKilgore on June 1, 2017 at 9:05 am

Aha! A May 2017 article in The Daily Republic (Mitchell SD) said owner Cecil Harsin had enough for a down payment on a digital projector, although fundraising would continue this summer to pay it off.

Also: Harsin bought the Hilltop in 1989 “when the previous owners threatened to close it.”

“Harsin said the theater only shows movies that are less than two weeks old.” So maybe it’s usually first-run after all.

The Daily Republic called the Hilltop SD’s oldest drive-in but said it was built in 1947.

MichaelKilgore on June 1, 2017 at 9:17 am

Although the Hilltop was reportedly built in ‘46 or ‘47, it didn’t appear in the 1952 Theatre Catalog or earlier editions. The 1955-56 Catalog lists it, capacity 240, Exec: Roy Metzger. (The 1959 IMPA lists it incorrectly as “Gregory Drive-In” but with R. Metzger.)

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on June 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Keep in mind the Theatre Catalog’s and IMPA’s have dubious and missing information in them. So be careful in using them for reference.

MichaelKilgore on June 15, 2017 at 9:45 am

I agree completely. Those old guides were often slow to notice drive-ins, then slow to remove them when they closed. And that’s when the listings were accurate! :)

Anyway, KDLT ran a video with Cecil ‘Slim’ Harsin this week. Worth watching.

KDLT said the nonprofit Gregory Horizon Development Corporation actually bought the digital projector on a loan.

As shown in the video, Last weekend the Hilltop showed the latest Smurfs installment, released nine weeks earlier. This weekend, they’ve scheduled Baywatch, released three weeks earlier. I’m still not convinced on “First Run”.

MichaelKilgore on April 23, 2019 at 9:19 am

On its Facebook page, a May 23, 2018 post read: “As of June 1st, 2018, the Hilltop Drive In will be under new ownership. More details will follow when available.” As of this writing, that’s the most recent post on that page. Is it still open?

nevin1977 on May 23, 2019 at 8:02 am

had to search, but yes it is still open. a local community calendar page for Gregory SD lists movies this weekend.


nevin1977 on May 23, 2019 at 8:10 am

new facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Hilltop-Drive-In-224740118335364/

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 19, 2021 at 12:48 pm

Correct spelling is Hilltop Drive-Inn (yes, with two N’s).

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