Supporting the arts

Alamo Drafthouse and Violet Crown roll out at-home movies during COVID-19 shutdown

Alamo Drafthouse and Violet Crown roll out at-home movies in Austin

Violet Crown Cinema theater movie
Violet Crown is offering art house and independent films to stream at home. Violet Crown Cinema/Facebook

One of the scariest things about the current COVID-19 crisis is the unknown. Will the restaurants, shops, cafes, small businesses, venues, and movie theaters that make up Austin's landscape be there once the stay home restrictions are lifted? Will the cultural institutions we love be able to reopen?

One way to ensure that they do return is by supporting them now. Two Austin-based cinemas — Violet Crown Cinema and Alamo Drafthouse — are making it easier than ever, offering films that can be screened right from home, no pants required. 

Both theaters are now offering Virtual Cinema, an initiative that allows independent movie theaters to make money during the unprecedented global pandemic. For the price of a standard ticket ($12, though specialty screenings can vary), users can stream curated or independent films for a set number of days. But unlike streaming a movie via something like AppleTV or through a cable provider, the money goes directly to the local theater. 

“The entire reason [my wife] Karrie and I built theaters in the first place was to bring people together in a celebration of film,” said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO, in a release. “Our theaters are currently closed, but that doesn’t have to mean our communities have to remain shuttered as well."

In that spirit, the Alamo is also offering specialty screenings, including the revival of Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday, two of the Drafthouse's long-running weekly events. Every week, the theater will offer another curated horror film and weird movie, respectively. 

Likewise, Violet Crown is also offering specialty events, such as a screening of And Then We Danced on Thursday, April 2, followed by a live Q&A with filmmaker Levan Akin. 

"We intend to hunker down, weather this storm and reemerge on the other side," League continued. "Until then, we’ll continue to work to share the movies we love with this community, and find ways to support each other.”

After all, there are only so many episodes of Tiger King available.