Reel Good News

Famed local drive-in theater premieres downtown Austin rooftop movie series

Famed Austin drive-in premieres downtown rooftop movie series

Blue Starlite Drive-in movie theater
Blue Startlite is driving into downtown Austin. Photo courtesy of Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In

Update: On August 28, the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties unrelated to the theater, we are postponing the opening weekend of the drive-in movie theater. Austin Energy is currently addressing an issue with their equipment that is located on the same level of the garage as the Blue Starlite Drive-in. We intend to begin showings on Wednesday, September 2, and appreciate the overwhelming support we have received from the community since announcing the downtown rooftop location.”


Austin's "mini" drive-in movie theater is making big moves. On August 27, locally owned Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in Theater debuts its newest location — the brand's third — on the rooftop of the State Theatre's parking garage at 300 San Antonio St.

In this age of social distance, when we're all looking for something — anything — to do, Blue Starlite's newest locale is blockbuster news. Beginning next week through the end of October, the drive-in will host special screenings ranging from favorite family films, classic concert series, and even spook-tacular showings of the original Halloween, all shown on a rooftop with 360-degree views of downtown Austin.

The movie series will begin with a double feature on August 27 of Hairspray: The Musical and Dazed and Confused. Opening weekend continues with kid-friendly Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and a late-night screening of Beastie Boys: Awesome I F*n Shot That, a concert film of the band's 2004 performance at Madison Square Garden.

See a full schedule and start times here

“For many years, we have had a vision of a rooftop Blue Starlite in the heart of downtown Austin,” Josh Frank, owner of Blue Starlite, said in a release. “Thanks to the enthusiasm and support of the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation, and their diligence in tracking down the perfect space, we are thrilled to be able to manifest our vision in solidarity with other local businesses. We are hopeful that our Blue Starlite Experience will help provide a shining light at the end of the tunnel to our patrons and beloved city."

Helping foster the new drive-in initiative is the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation, the charitable arm of the Downtown Austin Alliance. As part of the screenings, the foundation will bring in local artists, musicians, storytellers, and other performing arts organizations to create supplemental programming.

"[The special events] provide our creative community a safe stage and an engaging audience for programming that focuses on music and theater performances, storytelling experiences and more," the foundation explained in a release. 

Tickets are priced at $35 for a two-person car slot, and then $10 for each additional passenger. Concession packages are also offered for $10, and include two sodas, popcorn, and movie theater candy. Additional concessions can also be ordered and delivered to your car during the show. 

In a release, the foundation says it is also planning to partner with area restaurants and businesses to allow moviegoers to order concessions and have them brought directly to the State's parking garage. "This will help create a uniquely Austin experience while lifting up local businesses that have had their business negatively impacted because of COVID-19," organizers said. 

“The Downtown Alliance Foundation is thrilled to help bring this unique and one-of-a-kind downtown Austin experience to our city,” said Molly Alexander, executive director of the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation. “At a time when we are all doing our part to keep our community protected, this offers an opportunity to get out of the house to enjoy a movie, live music or a theater production in a safe way."