Austin-originated Alamo Drafthouse theaters made their name at least partly on their special events: themed screenings, often involving special food and drink, tied to a specific movie or movies. (Patrons being served all the hobbit meals while watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, singalongs to pretty much ever musical film and video that exists, that sort of thing.)
When the chain acquired its first inflatable, full-sized movie screen, it allowed imaginations and events to roam. And they did; for the first few years, the Roadshow toured the country beyond with special, 35mm screenings of films in the places they were set: Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner in Iowa Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, and Escape From Alcatraz at, of course, Alcrataz Island. There was also a particularly ambitious tour of Spain’s Almeria region with a fistful of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns (filmed in the area).
About four years ago, someone had the brilliant idea of showing the first-ever summer blockbuster, 1975’s Jaws, to an audience floating in a lake (rafts provided by the Alamo). The screenings on Lake Travis were a huge hit, both because of their goofy/creepy nature and because when it’s 95 degrees at 10 p.m., the only sensible thing to do is to get in some water. The event was such a smash that it returned every subsequent year, including to this one (through August 4), and over the years, one thing became apparent: To top it, they were going to need a bigger shark.
And so: This year, for one night only (August 5), the Jaws on the Water series will wrap up with The Meg on the Water. It’ll be somewhat of a sneak screening for the film, which has an August 10 opening date. In the movie, Jason Statham and Li Bingbing descend to the bottom of the ocean to fight a prehistoric, 70-foot megalodon. Is that bigger than the shark in Jaws? We don’t know. And there’s only one way to find out.