Blue Starlite Drive-in, a small movie theater chain with unique locations dotted across Austin, announced on Instagram that a large portion of its downtown equipment had been stolen. The theft, by the theater’s estimate, happened “between Sunday night and Wed[nesday] morning” and affected 80 percent of the downtown location’s equipment.
“They broke into all 4 of our projection trailers and gutted them,” wrote the theater’s owner, Josh Frank. “They took almost everything. Recovering from this will be a challenge.”
Frank called the burglary a “well-planned heist,” although it seems that only the downtown theater was affected, leaving the Mueller, Town Lake, and cruise locations unaffected. (The Mueller location explicitly remains open.) The team hopes to resume operations at the downtown location over the weekend in a limited capacity, with at least one screen for the public and one for private bookings.
“We are devastated. I am devastated,” wrote Frank. “It took 13 years of hard work and sacrifices to build up what was taken in one night.”
A page for donations includes purchase options at set prices ($25, $50, $100, etc.) and teases “some special things over the next year!” Higher donation amounts are tied to projection booth dedications ($500) and screen dedications ($1,000). Payments can be made as a “ticket” purchase at tickettailor.com.
The theater had just launched its RV: Rolling Video Store Art Gallery at Muller on January 9, selling VHS tapes with unique covers customized by local artists. It was also planning to host its 14th annual Valentine’s Day event with titles like Casablanca, The Princess Bride, The Notebook, and more classic romances. There is no indication these festivities will be canceled except at the downtown theater.