Sometimes getting outside of the house to watch a movie is half the fun. With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, movies theaters have remained closed while drive-ins have gone from a vintage concept to a modern solution.
A drive-in that set up in the Heights last month is The Best Little Drive-in In HTX. The drive-in, which uses the Shady Acres Saloon property at 1127 W 19th St. to show movies, was born from the friendship between saloon owner Mike Bell and Tim Nowicke, the CEO of Generations AV, LLC. Generations AV is a Houston concert and event production company that supplies technical crew and stagehand positions as well as designs, builds, and manages audio, video and lighting assets for concerts and corporate events.
“Once the pandemic started and most of our business dried up, we brainstormed to find creative uses of our production assets, namely our LED video wall,” said Rachel Donelson of Generations AV. “After seeing photos from the drive-in at Sawyer Yards, we decided that we could provide a better viewing experience for customers than what Rooftop Cinema produced.”
Generations takes care of all of the movie aspects, from securing movie licenses and marketing to all of the video and audio. Shady Acres Saloon provides the snacks, including popcorn, hot dogs and Frito pies. They also serve alcoholic beverages. The saloon plans to expand its offerings at the end of August.
Screenings are Fridays and Saturdays until Sept. 5. Fridays feature “Friday Night Fright Series,” highlighting thrillers, horror and suspenseful movies. Saturdays feature “Live Music Series,” highlighting films that center on music culture. They plan to add screenings into the fall.
“We feature a state-of-the-art LED video wall rather than standard projection at other drive-ins,” Donelson said. “Our LED video wall produces a brighter, higher contrast and higher-quality image than any other drive-ins. One of our guests at our Saturday screening said they were blown away that they could see the pores on the actor’s faces.”
The Best Little Drive-in In HTX also limits capacity to 15 vehicles, ensuring everyone has a good view of the scene. Instead of trailers, the drive-in features music videos from Houston bands. Approaching shows will feature The Ton Tons, Gio Chamba and Velveteen Echo.
Upcoming showings include “Relic” on Friday, “High Fidelity” on Saturday, “Get Out” on Aug. 28, “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Aug. 29, “Ex Machina” on Sept. 4 and “Straight Outta Compton” on Sept. 5. To buy a ticket or look at show times, visit littledriveinhtx.com/now-playing.
Tickets are $30 per vehicle.