Perched on a prairie out in Hockley, The Showboat Drive-In is a summer dream, where the sun sets a vibrant pink, the frogs forever croak, and the looming tree line, just beyond a cluster of rusted-out truck and bus carcasses, seems like the perfect setting for an invasion of the walking dead— we couldn't approve more.
Relaxing in my car last week during Trolls World Tour (don't judge) with a cheeseburger brought from home in hand and my feet on the dash (again, don't judge), I couldn't help but feel like this is what summer, even a totally screwed-up one, is all about.
Apparently, dystopian summer 2020 will be all about the drive-in, an experience seemingly built upon the concept of social distancing, with two new pop-ups already heading our way. Here's what you need to know before you roll out ... Mad Max-style of course.
The Showboat Drive-in
theshowboatdrivein.com | $8 per person
It's a 40-minute drive out into the country to land at the double-screen drive-in, now open after a month-long, temporary closure for COVID-19, and some new rules are in place. They're not screening double features to cut down the length of time folks are here (and to discourage the use of the bathrooms). There are no concessions (bring your own). And you’re supposed to stay in the footprint of your vehicle. The playground areas—swing sets and tether ball, mostly—are also off limits.
Arrive early to get a good spot and to listen to the playlist on the theatre’s radio station before the movie starts—deep cuts from the 1960s including The Box Tops' "The Letter", The Creation’s "Painter Man" and Etta James’s "I’d Rather Go Blind." It's splendid.
The Vast of Night, a kitschy throwback to the 1950s sci-fi will screen here May 15-21, with two days of 50-cent tickets (May 15-16), and five days of special $16 carload pricing (May 17-21) thanks to Amazon—get tix here. The Showboat also just relaunched films for the 18+ crowd with Knives Out now showing, too. 22422 FM 2920, Hockley
The Drive-In at Sawyer Yards
rooftopcinemaclub.com | $28 per vehicle
Opening May 12 with Grease, this new pop-up drive-in from Cali-based company, Rooftop Cinema Club, will screen cult favorites including The Princess Bride, Back to the Future, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (cue the inappropriate pandemic lingerie) in a lot behind Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.
If Rooftop Cinema Club sounds familiar to you, there is another location Uptown, but it's temporarily closed until June since it's not very social-distancing oriented (ie. you sit among a crowd on a rooftop). At Sawyer Yards, you'll be staying in the car, tuning into FM radio for audio, and you can bring your own concessions. Or better yet, pre-order some food and drink online from neighboring Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. for contactless pick-up. 2301 Summer St.
Drive-in Movie Club Houston
zip-tickets.com | $25-30 per carload
This new series of family-friendly, Coronavirus-safe drive-in nights will pop up in Houston in August 2020, run by Hot Tub Cinema, a company that typically specializes in—you guessed it—hot tub film screenings. This particular pop-up will not involve hot tubs. It's for families hoping to social distance and watch a movie that's kid-friendly.
Tickets will be $25 per car when you purchase early bird tickets or $30 per car of up to five people. We've reached out for more information on the planned location, schedule and movies, and will update as soon as that's available.