Rustic Drive In reopens with full lineup on three screens

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – It’s been a family tradition in northern Rhode Island for more than three straight decades, with a new season set to begin on Friday, April 23.

Rustic Tri-View Drive In will reopen for the 2021 season with six first-run movies playing on three screens this week.

The drive in at 1195 Eddie Dowling Highway does have new guidelines for the year, with patrons asked to purchase tickets online in advance and carefully select the correct option.

“When parking in our lot you will be placed according to your vehicle size and purchasing the correct ticket is very important,” the business noted in a post on social media.

The ticket website features options for the type of vehicle, with screen numbers to be selected in advance.

The only first-run drive-in movie theater remaining in the state, Rustic opened in the early 1950s, but had a stint between the 1960s and mid-1980s where only Adult R- and X-rated films graced its single screen. The town fought to close the facility, reportedly increasing Rustic’s licensing fee from $160 to $18,000 per year in 1971.

The theater switched back to a family-friendly format when Beverly and Clem Desmarais purchased it in 1986, according to the website Art In Ruins.

The business was sold to Boston Culinary Group in 2008, and is currently operated by the Your Neighborhood Theaters division of Belmont Capital.

The drive in is typically open from late April to early October, when vehicles line up along the highway each night to secure a space in the 550 car parking lot. Amid limited options for entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic, the theater stayed open through December in 2020.

And this Friday, the drive in’s well-known sign will again advertise a full line up of films to play through the weekend.

Gates open at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with Screen 1 showing Mortal Combat, followed by Monster Hunter. Screen 2 will play Tom & Jerry followed by The Croods: New Age. Screen 3 is showing Godzilla versus Kong followed by Wonder Woman 1984. First films are scheduled to start at 7:50 p.m.

Tickets must can be purchased online at www.yourneighborhoodtheatre.com.

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