In front of the Old Tyler Trades Day building, a red, blue, and white Skyvue sign lit up, and below on a marquee lists all the movies playing this week. Although it looks like nothing special, the Skyvue experience is waiting.
A gravel trail and Christmas lights lead the way into the movies. A ticket booth greets the entrance with two signs that read “Cash and Checks Only” and “Please buy your tickets at the concession stand.” The temptation to buy homemade pizza, popcorn, candy, and drinks, makes just purchasing tickets unbearable.
Tall trees and neatly-mowed grass helps set the stage for Skyvue, while a blue building projects the movie on a tall white screen in the center of the theatre. The sky is pitch black with tiny specks of light that comes from the stars, and the pre-set radio is on full blast as the surround sound comes through the car.
Ronda Phillips and her family operate and own the only drive-in theatre in Tyler that takes pride in being family-friendly.
“This is a family theatre. We do not play R-Rated movies. It’s a place you can take your kids,” said Phillips.
Even though the theatre doesn’t play R-Rated movies, this doesn’t stop locals and college students from still wanting to get in on the action.
“I prefer it because of the relaxed atmosphere,” said local Tyler resident Sofia Herrea.
Some prefer the feeling of privacy.
“You’re in your personal space with your own car. You don’t have to worry about annoying people in the regular movies,” said Jerron Walker, a student at Tyler Junior College. “Just overall, you have that feeling of your own privacy.”
The option is also given to customers to bring blankets, lawn chairs and sleeping bags, so the customers don’t feel confined to just their car.
“You can sit in your car, your lawn chairs,” said Phillips. “The kids get in sleeping bags and under covers”
Skyvue shows why it isn’t the traditional theatre.
“I want families to leave knowing that families are welcomed,” said Phillips. “We have several families with kids who have Down-Syndrome, and in walk-in movies, they’re told to ‘shut up’ or ‘sit down’, but here we make them feel welcomed. It’s all about the kids.”
Skyvue isn’t just for the families. It can be a nice date for couples as well.
“For two adults it’ll be $12.81, and for a large popcorn, drink and a free refill it’ll be $9.34. That’s a pretty cheap date,” said Phillips.
Movie goers agree.
“I went out there on a date. It’s inexpensive. There’s nothing out there that’s pricey. I mean you go to Carmike and pay $3 for a box of candy,” said Walker. “That don’t make [any] sense.”
While the prices for other movie theatres can range from six the nine dollars offering student discounts. Skyvue offers their customers a deal that they can watch two movies and pay only six dollars per person.
“We don’t have discounts because it’s six dollars for two movies,” said Phillips.
The drive-in opens at 7:30 p.m. and movies began to play promptly at 8:00 p.m.
“We open at 7:30 p.m. and movies start when it gets dark,” said Phillips.
The community can also go to tylerdrivein.com to look for movies playing that week and also request movies.