Union Market Drive-In returns Friday to kick off monthly movie series

Moviegoers enjoy the Union Market Drive-In. (Tom Kochel)
WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Union Market Drive-In (Part 1)

Get ready to watch movies under the stars all summer long in the nation’s capital.

The ninth annual Union Market Drive-In returns Friday for a monthly series.

“We are now the oldest continually running drive-in movie theater in The District,” founder Jon Gann told WTOP. “I started it because the market had just opened, and they have a great white wall and I thought, ‘This is a great place to show movies.'”

The concept became particularly vital during the past year of pandemic shutdowns.

“We are very lucky that last year after lockdown when people were restricted in what they could do that we could do a drive-in,” Gann said. “We continued it last year throughout the entire summer and we’re happy to do it again this year.”

Tickets are $20 per car, with audio over FM radio. All films are open captioned.

“Last year, we were restricted by the number of cars we could have, and because they had to be parked distant from one another with no picnickers,” Gann said. “This year, we can have a full lot of 175 cars. For those on foot, they can pack their chairs and blankets and set up to see the films as long as they’re distanced from another.”

There will also be local food options available.

“There’s a new Egyptian place called Fava Pot. There’s a new Thai street food place called Som Tam. There’s a local creamery called The Creamery that makes delicious ice cream. There’s burgers from Lucky Buns, sandwiches from Buffalo & Bergen.”

Screenings will be held at Union Market on the first Friday of every month.

Here’s the full lineup:

  • Friday, May 7 — “Inside Out” (gates open at 7:30 p.m., screening at 8:30 p.m.).
  • Friday, June 4 — “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (gates open at 7:30 p.m., screening at 8:45 p.m.).
  • Friday, July 2 — “Wonder Woman 1984” (gates open at 8 p.m., screening at 9 p.m.).
  • Friday, Aug. 6 — “Sister Act” (gates open at 7:45 p.m., screening at 8:45 p.m.).
  • Friday, Sept. 3 — “Crazy Rich Asians” (gates open at 7 p.m., screening at 8 p.m.).
  • Friday, Oct. 1 — “Cruella” (gates open at 6:15 p.m., screening at 7:10 p.m.).

Note: The parking lot closes about 10 minutes before each screening begins.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Union Market Drive-In (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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