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New East Austin outdoor cinema promises 'ultimate' drive-in movie experience

New East Austin outdoor cinema promises 'ultimate' drive-in experience

The Ultimate Drive-In
Sit in your G-Wagon and watch a film. Photo courtesy of The Ultimate Drive-In

The next generation of drive-in movie theaters is pulling into East Austin, according to one company. Construction is set to begin in January on the Ultimate Drive-In, a cinema that merges open-air moviegoing with a more familiar drive-in experience. 

This new location, at 1600 S. Pleasant Valley Rd., will be the first permanent installation for the 13-year-old Ultimate Outdoor Entertainment, which says it's hosted more than 25,000 pop-up movie experiences across the nation. When it opens in its new home in April 2021, the company's Ultimate Drive-In promises an "all-new, hybrid movie experience with both open-air cinema seating alongside premium parking that will allow for a one-of-a-kind viewing experience."

"With so many ways to consume movies and television these days, through phones, tablets, streaming services and more, combined with reduced big name films due and delays from Hollywood for the foreseeable future, the drive-in is the next best thing to a traditional indoor theater..." says Chandra Schwausch, part of the UOE sales team, in a release. "Outdoor movies and drive-in theaters are making a big comeback in these very different times."

A "Texas-sized" LED screen will, of course, be the focal point on the new cinema. Seating will be available either on the open-air, two-story SkyView Deck pods or in a vehicle. On chilly nights, the theater offers blankets and deckchairs to help moviegoers stay cozy.

As for concessions, those are available in drink-and-snack packages via contactless delivery. Patrons can order popcorn, classic movie candy, and even a grilled cheese doughnut sandwich or bring their own snacks.

"We began our outdoor movie adventure in Austin in 2008, so we are thrilled to bring this new movie-going experience and vision to life here in our hometown," said Darrell Landers, founder of UOE and The Ultimate Drive-In. "However, we want to make clear this is not your grandparent's drive-in... Expect a giant-sized viewing experience that will parallel some of the largest screens in the country."

Before construction begins, the drive-in is hosting a pop-up holiday drive-in movie series at the site from November 25 through January 3, 2021. Movie schedules are released one week at a time, and opening week includes screenings of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Elf, Home Alone, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Christmas Story

Tickets and packages are on sale now and priced according to tiered parking spots.