By ADAM SCHRADER and STEVE SOUTHWELL
Drive-in theaters have been absent from the Denton County community since The Rancho in Denton closed in the 1980s. There hasn’t been a theater like it in Lewisville since one closed off Business 121 in the 1970s.
So when Fort Worth-based Coyote Drive-In announced plans to open Lewisville location, the community couldn’t get enough of the news. It continues to be one of the most talked about local stories and residents frequently ask The Lewisville Texan Journal for updates.
The opening, which was once planned for late last year, will be postponed again after a series of delays in the planning stages when the theater realized it had space to add a sixth screen, and rain.
Coyote had then planned for a July 1 opening but now won’t be open until early fall, said Glen Soloman, a partner in Coyote Drive-In. No changes have been made to the planned design since Lewisville approved $306,500 of incentives in February; and work was moving on schedule since the company broke ground in January, before recent rains.
“Nobody is more sorry about the delay than we are,” Soloman said. “But when the long-anticipated location finally opens, it will be worth the wait.”
Soloman said significant progress will be seen in the next coming weeks as the weather forecast shifts.
Lewisville resident Todd Simpson, 36, said he loved going to theaters like it when he was younger.
“I absolutely would go and I understand it’s very difficult to build things when we’re getting the type of rain we’ve been getting,” he said.
Simpson said that next summer, when Coyote Drive-In is open, Texans won’t have to worry about the summer heat like they did.
“When we think of drive-ins, we think of the old days of having to roll down the windows,” he said. Coyote Drive-In uses special FM radio frequencies to which guests tune their car’s radio, so “there is never going to be an issue with the heat,” he said.
Lewisville resident Sallie Burris, 62, said that when she was dating in high school, she used to catch films at the Rebel Twin Drive-In off Belt Line in Carrollton. By the time the previous Lewisville theater opened, she was a young married woman with a baby daughter.
“We would load our Volkswagen bus with bottles, diapers and baby food and go to the movies,” she said. “Now I want my grandchildren to experience the drive-in movie. I am sure they’ve come a long way since then.”
Flower Mound resident Nicole Webb, 23, who is currently in school in Washington D.C., said she’s never been to a drive-in theater.
“Me and my friends in high school always wanted to. We never got around to it because all the ones open then were too far away,” she said. “I’d love to go when I’m in town next.”
Some residents had suggestions for Coyote before they open.
“We honestly don’t go to movies, but if there were a decent family film we would consider it,” Lewisville resident Kari Simpkins, 53. “I don’t care for any sort of violence or foul language. I would love to see some of the recent Christian movies shown there.”
Coyote opened its second location in Birmingham, Alabama, at the start of May. Until the new cinema opens in Lewisville, residents looking to catch flicks from the comfort of their car can head to the company’s original Panther Island location in Fort Worth.