The Drive-in Will Never Die

Classic movie experience returns, courtesy of Schulman’s

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

As COVID-19 became a national emergency, businesses went into lockdown and residents stayed at home to shelter in place.

Numerous industries were hit hard as being social and attending group functions ground to a standstill. Among those hardest hit was the movie theater.

From cineplexes to small screen theaters, seats remained empty and concessions uneaten. Even when the “okay” was given to reopen, Movie theaters had nothing new to show as film studios delayed productions for months, often postponing into 2021. Movies, such as Trolls World Tour to the recent Mulan, skipped the theater entirely, premiering on streaming services such as Amazon Prime or Disney+.

Drive-in theaters, on the other hand…. 

In many ways, the drive-in theater has become a product of a bygone era. Until the 1980s, locals in Corsicana used to thrill to films of all types at the Navarro Twin Drive-In off of Highway 31 until its closure. As multiplex cinemas offering dozens of screens began popping up across the commercial landscapes, drive-ins became less frequent of a movie going experience.

COVID-19 changed that, as social distancing became the “new normal.” It became a winning scenario to stay in one’s car to get out and watch a new movie. Up until recently, the Galaxy Drive-In Movie Theater in Ennis has been the most convenient experience for locals.

As of this week, the Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille theater, located at 3501 Сorsicana Boulevard, will now give its customers the same drive-in opportunity.

Schulman’s has been using its downtime to completely update its local theater, which is now open to the public and will include new renovations, upcoming entertainment amenities, and an updated name for the property. 

“More is coming,” said Mark Schulman, Owner of Schulman‘s Movie Bowl Grille. “A lot of changes. We’re doing a complete renovation, recliner chairs, reserved seating.”

Schyulman said the changes should be complete in about 60 to 70 days.

The building exterior’s colors have been updated to reflect the new changes, and a drive-in screen has been added to give Corsicana movie-goers a unique experience not locally had in decades.

“At the end of the day, as things are changing in the entertainment and hospitality environment, you have to be creative,” Schulman said. “You have to reach out and look at different ways to make people comfortable. People want to be entertained, and be out and do things with their family, but the way things have gone thus far, people don’t know what to believe or expect. ‘Is it getting better’ or ‘Is it getting worse?’”

The theater’s recent renovations provide movie enthusiasts with multiple viewing options to meet their comfort levels.

Originally, Schulman’s planned to debut its new screen on September 3, but thunderstorms delayed the opening for a week. On Thursday, September 10, Schulman’s will have a drive-in screening each night starting at 8:45 p.m. with tickets starting at $17 for one or two guests, and $25 for carloads of three or more. 

Outdoor screenings will be held Thursday through Saturday, with advance tickets purchased at the facility or online at: corsicana.moviebowlgrille.com/showtimes.

Guests will also be able to purchase concessions with a phone app, with food and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks being delivered to cars by staff driving golf carts.

The first week’s line up will consist of the following films:

September 10 will offer a unique screening, as Schulman’s has collaborated with the Warehouse Living Arts Center to premiere an exclusive showing of The Tree, a Warehouse Youth Theater Company production written and directed by Erin Jones. More information can be found here: https://www.thewlac.com/the-tree.html

The rest of this week’s line-up includes the following films:

September 11th: Tenet

September 12th: Broken Hearts Gallery

September 18th: Bill & Ted Face the Music

September 19th: Playing with Fire

On the Net: https://corsicana.moviebowlgrille.com

Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille. Photo – Guy Chapman