Drive-in movie theaters are an iconic staple of the Happy Days generation, but a new joint in Fort Worth hopes to bring them back into fashion. Coyote Drive-In theater is a three-screen venue set on 20 acres that's part movie theater, part beer garden and part social blender.
As a former co-owner of Trees and the Gypsy Tea Room in Deep Ellum, Coyote co-owner Brady Wood has experience in the entertainment business. He says that he was initially skeptical that a drive-in theater could work, but after doing research, he became more confident in the plan.
“People want to hang out, unplug and connect with one another,” co-owner Brady Wood says.
“People want to hang out, unplug and connect with one another,” he says.
Located north of downtown near LaGrave Field off Main Street, Coyote opened May 9 and can hold 1,300 cars for nightly showings.
There’s also the Canteen, a concession stand serving hot dogs, burgers, pizza and more, plus beer and wine. It’s all designed to make Coyote appeal to families, college kids and couples alike.
Wood says that the audience so far covers all the demographics.
“It’s been everyone from folks that can remember going to drive-ins and are glad to be back, to college and high school kids that have heard of them but never actually been to one,” he says.
Ultimately Coyote wants to maintain a laid-back vibe that is a affordable for everyone. To that end, adult tickets for each of the double features are $8, and kids tickets are $6. Each of the three screens shows a different pairing each night, letting viewers see Iron Man 3 with Oz the Great and Powerful or The Great Gatsby with 42.
Wood says that Coyote plans to introduce special events to its calendar in addition to major screenings.
“We’ll do things like sporting events and film festivals or classic movie nights,” he says. “Some folks are encouraging us to do an American Graffiti night where people can bring out their hot rods.”
Coyote has a 10-year lease with the Tarrant Regional Water District, and the rest of the land is to be developed around them.
It’s also expected that some day the screens will be taken down, although Wood says it won’t happen during their first lease. Of course, if Coyote proves viable enough, it might stick around.
Wood says the ownership group is also looking at other locations around Texas, including two sites in Austin. But, for now, they are happy to be in Fort Worth, welcoming everyone to relax in cars, on blankets and in lawn chairs for nighttime movies.
“We want everyone to have a great time and hang out under the stars,” Wood says. “This is about bringing us back to a simpler time.”