DANVERS — The Lone Ranger riding again means the loss of a prime viewing spot for the Danvers Family Festival fireworks on July 3.
A statement on Hollywood Hits’ website says the parking lot will not be available this year, as the fireworks coincide with the release of “The Lone Ranger.”
“For over 10 years, Hollywood Hits has hosted the Danvers community for the annual fireworks display on July 3rd,” the statement reads. “This year, however, we have sadly decided not to allow our parking lot to be used as a fireworks viewing area.”
The Hutchinson Drive theater needs to keep as many spaces open to accommodate those who want to see the masked man, played by Armie Hammer, riding his trusty steed, Silver, on the silver screen. The movie also features the Lone Ranger’s sidekick, Tonto, played by Johnny Depp.
Hollywood Hits general manager Scott Przybycien said the theater has to keep its lights on for safety reasons so that patrons can navigate the parking lot. The lights will dim the view of the fireworks. In the past, the theater has dimmed its lights so people could view the night sky full of fireworks.
“That marquee is so bright, it will block 50 percent of the fireworks,” Przybycien said.
It’s too soon to say if the theater’s parking lot will be open next year for fireworks viewing, the general manager added. It is good for the theater to have people come there to watch the fireworks, and the theater does not want people to be upset by the closure. It is apologizing in advance to its loyal customers.
“This is not an ongoing effect,” Przybycien said. It’s very rare a movie opens on a Wednesday to coincide with the Danvers fireworks.
Danvers Family Festival co-Chairman Bill McKenzie said the use of Hollywood Hits’ parking lot for fireworks viewing “has nothing to do with Family Festival.” McKenzie had not heard that the theater was asking festival-goers to go elsewhere.
“We haven’t promoted it, and we haven’t demoted it,” said McKenzie of the use of the lot. “Obviously, we would like to have people where our vendors are.”
This year, there are new security measures in place for the official viewing spot of the Fireworks Festival in Plains Park behind the Holten Richmond Middle School on Conant Street. The loss of Hollywood Hits may put more of a strain on the park as people have to be screened through checkpoints, making it harder to come and go, McKenzie said.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.