Of all the changes that COVID-19 has brought, the revival of drive-in movies has to rank as one of the few that might stick around for post-vaccine life. Houstonians have eagerly embraced the trend, rolling into places like Sawyer Yards, the Hurricane Harbor Splashtown water park, and the Orange Show to watch classic films in socially-distanced comfort.
Starting next week, one of the city's most prominent real estate development firms will join this growing movement with a new drive-in screening one of the year's most eagerly-anticipated new films.
Midway has partnered with Blue Moon Cinemas and Showboat Drive-In to create the Moonstruck Drive-In Cinema at East River. Beginning September 3, Houstonians will be able to watch first-run movies such as Tenet, the mysterious, sci-fi thrilled from director Christopher Nolan and Bill and Ted Face the Music. Classic movies including Inside Out and drive-in concerts are also on Moonstruck's agenda.
Located just off Clinton Dr. at 100 Bringhurst Street, each showing will accommodate up to 200 cars. Movies will be shown on a 40-foot by 80-foot structure built from shipping containers with audio broadcast via FM transmitter to car radios. Tickets cost $25 per car, and movies start at 8:30 pm nightly with a second, 11:00 pm showing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Moonstruck will offer concessions from food trucks and nearby businesses such as The New Potato and The Funnel Bar. Portable restrooms will be on-site, but attendees are generally required to stay within their parking spot for the duration of the film and to wear a mask when they're not.
"We are excited to bring the drive-in movie concept to East Downtown," Moonstruck co-founder Andrew Thomas said in a statement. "As the sister company to Showboat Drive-In at Hockley, our fans can expect the same level of quality, content, and experience. We plan for Moonstruck Drive-In Cinema at East River to be a one-of-a-kind, iconic attraction not only during COVID, but for many years to come."
Beyond the entertainment value provided by the films, the drive-in will also give many Houstonians their first access to East River, Midway's new development along Buffalo Bayou in the Fifth Ward. Built on the site of the former Brown & Root property, the 150-acre project — three times larger than the company's CityCentre development — will eventually include shopping, restaurants, offices, and residential properties.
“The East River site has been inaccessible to the public for generations, and we are thrilled to activate the space ahead of its decades-long development horizon,” Midway CEO Jonathan Brinsden added. “We look forward to providing this new contactless drive-in for the community to gather and experience during these unique times.”