Sun-Ray Cinema is making its popular drive-in theater concept permanent.
The local Five Points-based movie theater announced yesterday via Facebook that it is under contract to purchase a 3.5-acre grass-lot property at 869 Willow Branch Avenue in Riverside, which it will use as a new permanent drive-in venue, complete with a permanent screen and projector setup.
The property is located next door to – and was previously owned by – the popular LGBTQ+ nightclub Metro Entertainment Complex. According to Sun-Ray, the nightclub will be open during movie showings to provide drinks and restrooms for patrons. In addition to drinks from Metro, the theater will be operating its own concession trailer that will serve hot dogs and popcorn – with more options likely to come in the future.
The theater began operating pop-up drive-in theaters in various locations – including Nassau County and a downtown tailgating lot near TIAA Bank Field – last spring following the closures brought about by COVID-19. While Sun-Ray’s main theater in Five Points has since reopened, its audiences are limited to 30% capacity due to the pandemic’s ongoing nature.
The drive-in concept allows patrons to buy tickets in advance and stay in their cars for the duration of the film – allowing for COVID-safe movie viewing.
As mentioned, Sun-Ray in Five Points remains open – and the theater is still working on its plans for a second location in Mandarin.
Sun-Ray’s new drive-in is set to open this Friday at 6:00 PM with a showing of Wonder Woman 1984, followed by Goonies at 9:00 PM. On Saturday, an encore showing of WW84 starts at 5:30 PM followed by Spirited Away at 8:30 PM. Tickets are $20 per car for one showing or $30 for a double feature; they can be purchased at https://sunraycinema.com.