With no Off the Grid events or anything else going on, Fort Mason has been fairly deserted for the last six months (except for the Sunday morning farmers' market). But that is about to change as the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture is kicking off a month-long, outdoor, drive-in movie series.
It's called Fort Mason Flix, and tickets just went on sale at noon Friday — they're not so cheap at $49 per vehicle, but that's cheap for a movie if there are more than two people splitting it. Movies will be showing on a 40-foot-by-20-foot LED screen that the center says is "ninety times brighter than a standard movie theater projector." And the fun kicks off on Friday, September 18 with a double feature: Minions at 6 p.m., and The Matrix at 9 p.m.
"We get it. It’s been a hard six months for everybody," says Nick Kinsey, director of external affairs at Fort Mason, in a statement to the Chronicle. "We’re excited to invite people back to our campus and have the opportunity to do something that provides them with a little bit of fun and excitement."
The movies will be running from Friday to Sunday the first weekend, but then the schedule expands to include other days of the week as well, through at least October 18. As the center announced in a release, the first set of scheduled shows are being hosted in partnership with local film festivals and non-profits, to help them raise some desperately needed funds. And future, to-be-announced screenings will continue with this, perhaps curated with specific themes.
The schedule as it stands is a mix of family-friendly fare (Lion King) and cult classics (The Big Lebowski), with some horror thrown in (Us).
As KRON4 reports, safety precautions include contactless ticket purchasing and concessions, as well as regular restroom cleaning — but moviegoers can also opt to just hold it and never leave their cars. (Also note: Greens, the restaurant at Fort Mason, is open for vegetarian deliciousness, both to go and outdoors on the patio.)
And Kinsey tells the Chronicle that you can have as many people in the car as there are seatbelts — but will anyone be pulling the old drive-in trick of smuggling in friends in the trunk?
The Chronicle wonders aloud if the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture will consider expanding the offerings for the drive-in to include concerts or other live performances if all goes well, but that's not on the docket just yet.
Drive-ins have been having a renaissance in the Bay Area and elsewhere, as it's the perfect socially-distanced way to enjoy a movie in public. But the other drive-ins around the Bay are pretty far from San Francisco — and given that they were always a suburban phenomenon, this is the first-ever drive-in the city has ever had, even if it's only temporary. (The Chronicle had a great piece in 2018 about the 1970s controversy over a proposed Sutro Drive-In near Forest Hill, and it mentions that the three closest drive-ins back in the day were in Daly City and South San Francisco.)
October's movie schedule is still TBA, but below is what's on tap for September. Find tickets here.
Friday, Sept. 18
6 p.m., “Minions”
9 p.m., “The Matrix”
Saturday, Sept. 19
6 p.m., “Xanadu”
9 p.m., “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
Sunday, Sept. 20
6 p.m., “Frozen”
9 p.m., “Purple Rain”
Friday, Sept. 25
6 p.m., “The Lion King”
9 p.m., “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Saturday, Sept. 26
6 p.m., “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”
9 p.m., “Furious 7”
Sunday, Sept. 27
6 p.m., “Hairspray” (1988)
9 p.m., “Selena”
Tuesday, Sept. 29
6 p.m., “Gremlins”
9 p.m., “The Big Lebowski”
Wednesday, Sept. 30
6 p.m., “Labyrinth”
9 p.m., “Us”
Photo via Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture