Concord drive-in screens 'Spongebob' and '50 Shades' together


CONCORD, Calif. (KTVU) -- This weekend at one of the last drive-in theaters in the Bay Area, parents bringing their kids to see a children's movie were faced with the unsavory prospect of "50 Shades of Gray" showing on a plainly visible screen nearby.

The unlikely combination of movies upset some families that came to Concord's West Wind Solano Drive-In.

Deborah Powell of Vallejo had the SUV all packed up for a fun night at the movies.

"A mat for the kids, pillows, full of blankets and some snacks," Powell said.

With two loads of kids ready to see "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" on Sunday night, the group headed to Concord.

"Because we have so many kids, it's hard to get a good view in the Yukon or the van, so we back in, put mattresses in the back and the kids sit in the back with the hatch open. And then we sit in lawn chairs," said Powell.

But as the carloads of 12 got in line at the theater, they had an unpleasant surprise.

"We had no choice but to go straight head on to '50 Shades of Gray' in the background. Well, in the front," exclaimed Powell.

And naturally, their timing was bad.

"At the time, there was a woman being slapped, naked, bound up," explained Powell. "So we had to have our children close their eyes. I could see another car behind us that had children in there with their eyes closed."

The drive-in has two screens, one pointing north, one west. But both screens are easily visible from most vantage points. Powell complained to a theater worker.

"He was apologetic. He agreed that it wasn't appropriate, and that there had been other complaints," said Powell.

No parent would say a kids cartoon belongs side-by-side with a controversial R-rated movie about a highly sexual relationship that's rife with bondage and domination. But that's basically what happens each night at the Solano Drive In for most of the night, as the movies overlap for several hours.

"There is no way to avoid looking at that screen. It's too tempting. So, we couldn't stay. We had to turn around. My children were devastated," said Powell.

KTVU contacted Syufy Enterprises which runs the theater but never heard back. It is unclear if the company has heard any complaints or if plans to make any changes at the theater to resolve the issue.

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories