Austin drive-in movie theater premieres new floating cinema on Lady Bird Lake
Don’t we do enough driving around here? Instead of a drive-in movie, Austin-born Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in is offering two new float-in movie options on Thursdays, starting August 25, at the Waterfront Floating Cinema, and on Wednesdays once a month on a cruise.
At the fixed cinema on Lady Bird Lake, the 20-foot screen (about the size of a small lake boat) faces the city and the shore, so movie-goers can sit on a floating platform and watch films against the water, easily accessible by and to downtown — perfect for folding into the night’s plans. Landlubbers can stay there, while kayak, paddleboard, and canoe captains view from their personal craft.
Fittingly, one of the upcoming screenings (September 8) shows Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but not before the chaotic film that made waves after its South by Southwest 2022 debut, Everything Everywhere All at Once (August 25, opening night). In between, on September 1, is the “Grease Sing-A-Long: For Olivia,” honoring star Olivia Newton-John, who died on August 8.
The second screen is mounted on the upper deck of a boat lent by Capital Cruises, showing both classic and recent independent films. The first film of this series is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, on September 14. Snacks on the boat can be added when purchasing tickets online.
Both screens can also be rented for private events; up to 40 viewers can watch on the shore, while the boat can take up to 75. Blue Starlight rents a complicated array of its screens for private events, all of which except the lake screens seem to measure capacity by car.
These additions bring Blue Starlite’s total Austin locations to five: the lake, one downtown spot atop a parking garage on San Antonio Street, one with several showing experiences in the Mueller area, one called the Starbrite Cinema near East MLK Boulevard, and one in Northwest Austin with food by Garbo’s. Another new project by Blue Starlite brings programming from the eclectic, local Hyperreal Film Club, which is in residency at the MLK location starting September 4 with Pee-wee's Big Adventure.
Tickets ($20-40 on the dock, $35-$60 on the cruise) are available by screening at bluestarlitedrivein.com.