Pop-up drive-in theater a lifeline for families, restaurant in Spring

SPRING – When the owners of Butler House in Spring transformed the parking lot next door into a drive-in movie theater, they had “no idea” if anyone would show up.

“I couldn’t wait to come,” Dan Mitchel said from the bed of his truck, sitting alongside his wife and two daughters. “We’ve been stuck in the house!”

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Like many small business owners, Marina and Bryan Frenchak are desperate for customers.

And it turns out; many families are desperate for public entertainment that is considered safe.

“It’s a perfect idea because everyone’s here, we can’t go inside, but we can still be patrons to the establishment,” Steve Curry said from his SUV with his wife, Jill, and their two daughters.

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The movies are free, and the Butler House delivers food orders to your windows. Two movies -- Sherlock Gnomes and Ferris Bueller’s Day -- were shown Wednesday night.

“It kinda gets you feeling somewhat normal, around other people, but in a closed area, but in fresh air,” Jill Curry said.

The Frenchaks posted an invitation to the pop-up theater on Facebook, and the response was overwhelming. Butler House will show two movies per night for at least the next week, the Frechaks said.

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“We had no idea how many would show up until literally 30-40 minutes ago,” Mr. Frenchak said. “We’re trying to figure out our way.”

“We’re really excited to see a family activity that we could get out and have some fun and watch a movie, but keep our distance,” teacher Natalie Mitchell said.

“You’re stuck in the house, get a little stir crazy, so getting outside, doing something with the kids, it’s fun,” said Steve Curry, a United Airlines pilot.

“It gives us a chance to kinda hang out more like a family, which I like more,” Audrey Curry said.

Many who attended the Butler House movie night said they could not remember the last time they visited a drive-theater. For some, this was their first experience.