The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Drive-in theater pays homage to original location, entertains amid pandemic

Drive-in theater pays homage to original location, entertains amid pandemic - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Mariah Gonzalez sits on top of a car at The Drive-In at Fiesta Texas. The new Mission Outdoor Theater at Brooks City Base is now open, showing socially distant movies. Photo by Devan McNally

The Mission Outdoor Theater, which opened in September at Brooks City Base, has resurrected a Southside tradition and allows people to watch movies while staying socially distant in their vehicles.

“I saw that the virus prevented us from doing a lot of things—going to movies, going to concerts and all the things we want to do. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to do those things,” said Fred Reyes, the owner and founder.

Reyes saw an opportunity to provide those services in a socially sanitized way. For example, movie-goers must be parked 12 feet apart and are allowed to get out of their cars as long as they stay near them.

“We do require [them] to wear masks to go to the concession stand or to go to the bathroom,” Reyes said. “Otherwise, we don’t allow congregations or anything like that unless it’s the party they came with.”

This isn’t the first time The Mission has been in business. The venue originally opened in 1948 on Roosevelt Avenue as the Mission Drive-in Theatre. It became an instant success until its popularity decreased over time, ultimately closing down in 2006, according to the original location’s website.

Today the city of San Antonio operates the property as the Mission Marquee Plaza, using it as a  cultural events center. It was planning outdoor movies this summer and early fall. However, the city closed the facility in accordance with the Mayor’s Declaration of Public Health Emergency.

Reyes said he saw an opportunity to re-open, rename and relocate the Mission due to the pandemic to accommodate the need for safe entertainment for the Southside community.

“I got a piece of paper, drew it out, got a spreadsheet, and put the numbers together. Thirty days later we were actually showing movies. It was a very fast process,” Reyes said.

His location is billed as “The New Mission Theater at Brooks” on the website. 

The owner stresses the importance of having more things to do on the Southside.

“That area of town gets passed by a lot, overlooked and taken for granted,” Reyes said. ”I said this side of town needs as much entertainment options just as much as the Northside or any other community for that matter.”

Other Southside residents agree there is a need for more entertainment to cater to the community.

Local business owner Angel Contero first heard about The Mission Outdoor Theater on a webpage for small Southside businesses.

“I went about a month ago and I stopped by to check things out,” said Contero, who owns Que Bonita Crafts.

Like many others, she has experienced her life come to a halt due to the pandemic. Regardless, she shares the same opinion on supporting the community, especially during the pandemic.

“This goes back to the community,” Contero said. “On our side, instead of going to corporate companies, we go to the taqueria or the fruit stand down the street. Everybody has to do their part.”

The Mission Outdoor Theater is on 8069 Challenger Drive. It is open from 7 p.m-midnight.

Upcoming movies this month include “Scarface” at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 12 and a double feature with “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” and “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 13.

For more information, visit The Mission Outdoor Theater Website.

Drive-in movies are also available at: 

About the Author

Lanie Perez
Lanie Perez
Lanie Perez is a communications sophomore with a minor in English at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She is a passionate journalist who loves writing about lifestyle, campus news and entertainment. Outside of her studies, she is the campus correspondent for Her Campus at A&M-SA. After graduation, Lanie plans on pursuing a career in journalism or international relations.

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