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Drive-in movie theaters making a comeback amid COVID-19 pandemic

Playing to sellout crowds, Rooftop Cinema Club recently opened its second pop-up location in Spring.

HOUSTON — Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Playing to sellout crowds, Rooftop Cinema Club recently opened its second pop-up location in Spring.

Set up against the backdrop of nature, the newest drive-in theater is located next to Hurricane Harbor Splash town water park and is a welcomed blast from the past.

"I think people are going to find it really magical, especially for those people like myself who grew up seeing these amazing American drive-ins but never getting access to one or never going to one because they've declined. But now is their chance. They're coming back,” said Gerry Cottle, Rooftop Cinema Club founder and CEO.

After the pandemic temporarily shut down its usual operations, Rooftop Cinema opened its first drive-in location at Sawyer Yards in Houston where films are shown against rice silos.

After seeing a surge in demand, the outdoor movie theater chain decided to expand.

"We can't be sat next to each other at the moment because of COVID-19, but with the drive-in, you can still hear the people chuckling away in the distance. You can still feel that energy," Cottle said.

Each drive-in has been modified to have safety measures in place.

"It's completely contactless. You're with the family in the car. The sound is transmitted through the FM radio. You just sit back, and then you wait for the sun to set. The big screen flickers on,” Cottle said.

At the Spring location, a 40-foot inflatable screen features a mix of contemporary and classic films.

Tickets start at $28 per car, regardless of occupancy.

Families also have the freedom to bring their own snacks or purchase from the theater’s concession stand, online or from a food truck on site.

To give back, Rooftop Cinema is also offering free "community screenings" several days out the week where people can donate $5 per car to watch a movie. 100 percent of proceeds raised will go towards helping those impacted by COVID-19 including to the Houston Food Bank.

For ticket info, showtimes and more, click here.

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