After a successful round last year, Andrew Korte, owner of 364 Productions, is yet again bringing a handful of drive-in movies to the Mid-Missouri area starting this weekend. In honor of the last week of classes, Old School Drive In Theatre will be showing "Dazed and Confused" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
"Dazed and Confused" (1993) is the coming-of-age story of a group of teenagers fresh off their last day of high school in 1976, looking to create mayhem in small-town Texas. The film is rated No. 3 on Entertainment Weekly's 2020 list of "50 Best High School Movies," described as "ageless." Notable cast members include a young Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck and Jason London.
The drive-in theater space, located on a plot of land owned by two sisters in California, has seen its share of tire tracks. During the fall season, the theater showed a round of Halloween-themed movies that brought out a crowd. Their first big announcement back in September garnered 60 comments, more than 80 likes and nearly 300 shares. Tickets had to be limited due to high demand.
The response from the community has been encouraging, and Korte believes much of the interest is a "harkening back to the bygone era," a nostalgic feel that, especially during the pandemic, he said, has pulled people back to things like drive-in movies.
"In California, even the old main street has rebounded. That sort of old-time thing has been revitalized," Korte said. "I really think that's going to be a thing going forward."
The appeal of a drive-in theater, he added, is also that those who still might be cautious about attending events can attend the movie safely, in an environment similar to enjoying a night at home with family, yet being together with neighbors. Attendees can get comfortable in the back of their own cars, bring whatever food they want or purchase available concessions (soda, candy, chips and hot dogs, according to Old School Drive In Theatre's Facebook page).
Korte said these movie nights provide a "sense of community."
"The whole thing is community, community, community — it's driven by the community," he said, then added: "We live in such a social media driven, online social world, and it's nice to have something for people to come out and actually get involved."
His and his team's main purpose, Korte said, is simply to bring films back to Mid-Missouri.
The logistics of the drive-ins can become complicated once the weather warms and daylight sticks around until later, but for the upcoming Saturday — as well as May 22nd's showing of "The Sandlot" — showtimes start around 7:30-8 p.m., weather permitting. The movies, Korte said, are largely family-friendly, and he has debated adding Friday "date night" movies to the upcoming schedule. Any additional dates will be determined by turnout during the first few showings.
Korte suggested movie-goers arrive 20-30 minutes before the movie starts to get parked and comfortable. Those who purchase tickets online will be guaranteed spots toward the front of the screen — a 20-by-25 foot screen that goes up and comes down with each event — though attendees who pay at the gate as the lot fills up will have a great viewing experience from the sides and parking farther back as well, he said.
Tickets are $20 per car in advance and can be purchased on EventBrite through the event page, www.facebook.com/events/756402641739730. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate. The drive-in theater is located at 34263 Route T in California.
For any additional questions, Korte is available by phone at 573-680-4413 or by email at [email protected].