Austin drive-in theater sees declining clientele
The Blue Starlite Urban Drive-in saw four times as many regular customers during the peak of the pandemic. Now they say the number of customers is leveling off.
AUSTIN, Texas – At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, theaters with drive-ins saw an influx of new customers.
âFor a year, they were able to live in the 1950s like their grandparents or great-grandparents,â said Josh Frank, owner of the Blue Starlite Urban Drive-in. “And for me, that’s the best thing we can do. Get out of there with.”
At the height of the pandemic, Frank said the Blue Starlite Drive-in had four times as many customers as it used to.
âI went from seven employees to 25 employees, and we had at least four to five private events a week,â Frank explained.
That’s because, during much of the pandemic, they were one of the only theaters open in all of central Texas.
âIt was really weird,â Frank said. “Opening the newspaper and seeing only the Blue Starlite movies in Austin, I never imagined that.”
Now he says fewer people are coming to the drive-in. He was ready for it to happen, but told KVUE it was still difficult.
âIt’s not really a difficult time as things have slowed down in a horrible way,â Frank said. “They’re just back to normal a bit, only better.”
With a dinner show, a forest theater for horror films, and a beach theater inspired by his son’s love for Moana, Frank is constantly pushing his creativity.
âThe idea has always been, in the decade that I’ve been doing this, to take the drive-in experience and see what you can do with it,â Frank said with a smile.
There are three Blue Starlite locations in the Austin area, and this Friday, the downtown location will start showing new Hollywood movies on a brand new 40-foot screen.
âYou get a 360-degree view of the city and you’re going to see new movies,â Frank said. “We’re really excited about this.”
As for the future, Frank doesn’t expect the large number of people he saw during the height of the pandemic, but hopes memories made from the front seat of a car will stay with people for years to come. to come up.
âThings are kind of going to get back to a certain level of normalcy,â Frank said. “But drive-ins are going to have a new place in the hearts of a whole new group of people, that they never would have had.”
To purchase movie tickets at any of Blue Starlite’s three locations in the Austin area, click here.
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