Alamo Drafthouse’s Rolling Roadshow is known for putting on fun and creative events. This summer’s team-up with Stunt Ranch to screen action films in explosive style – Stunt Ranch Cinema – is no different. The first Stunt Ranch Cinema presentation was in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Marvel’s “Iron Man.” While that was a fun experience, attending the May 26th screening of “The Dark Knight” made it clear that they’ve worked out the kinks. Most notably at first, the setup was different from that of the “Iron Man” screening, with more abundant parking and an extra, smaller zipline available for children to ride. The smaller zipline was obscured by the blown-up, outdoor screen at their first go-round, but the movie screen was in a more open space for the second event.
The event started at 5:30 PM, with plenty of activities available before the movie would go on after dark. As previously noted, there were two ziplines; there was also the high jump, where participants could choose whether to jump from the mid-range or highest platform. For those less daring, there was target practice at the hatchet throw and a stunt photo opportunity in front of an “exploding” van. Trapeze was another activity option, for those willing to pay-per-swing in addition to the entrance fee.
Like last time, there were food trucks at the site, as well as a bar and a popcorn/candy stand for the movie. Three of the food trucks were the same as the first screening, but they added a fourth to the mix, so there was truly something for everyone: seafood, pizza, chicken/hamburger sliders, and vegan hot dogs. The bar had themed drinks, including the Batmule (a take on the Moscow mule) and the Dawes Decision (made with Tito’s vodka and Waterloo’s black cherry sparkling water). There was also plenty of water and soft drinks available from several vendors, great for beating the heat while the sun was still out.
The costume contest that took place before the screening was hosted by Batman himself, and was short-lived due to only having two entrants. One of the young boys in the contest was dressed as Heath Ledger’s Joker, purple suit and all, while the other was possibly the scariest clown since Pennywise. While the applause for both was great, only the creepy clown was able to narrowly win the $50 grand prize.
As fun as all the lead-up was, the movie was the main event and boy, did they deliver! The Stunt Ranch crew set up pyrotechnics in three spots at the front of the audience, as well as on either side and behind the crowd. At least one of them was set off each time a loud explosion happened onscreen; they even added confetti cannons that went off several times during the screenings, causing the crowd to cheer and clap. Most impressively, there was a car off to the side with a propane torch set up inside that went off whenever a vehicle blew up in the film. The excitement stemming from both “The Dark Knight” itself – an Oscar-winning superhero movie – and the surrounding blasts of fire and confetti. There is really nothing like watching a movie on the big screen with an audience who loves it as much as you do. Even the post-sundown weather was perfect.
Stunt Ranch Cinema’s next screening is “Independence Day” from 1996, unsurprisingly showing on July 4th. Get tickets now to make sure you don’t miss out on the patriotic, extraterrestrial, explosion-riddled fun!