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Drive-Ins Are the Reel Thing This Summer

Drive-Ins Are the Reel Thing This Summer (3)
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While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced most entertainment industries to go digital, there's a definite bright spot: drive-in movies, where you can quarantine yourself. A couple of old-school drive-ins remain on the Front Range, and they're doing big business right now; a few temporary drive-ins are also popping up.

And even Denver Film is getting in on the act: Now in its 21st season, Film on the Rocks has been transformed into Film on the Rocks — The Drive-in, with the movie showing on Colorado's biggest LED screen in an amphitheater parking lot while the audience members are confined to their cars.

Here's where to find the reel thing this summer.

Blue Starlite
Wednesday through Sundays this summer
801 Ed6, Minturn
Tickets start at $27

This decade-old mini urban pop-up drive-in based in Austin, Texas, returns to Minturn. Get the film lineup and buy tickets here.

Boulder International Film Festival Drive-In
Saturday nights through September
Boulder Municipal Airport
3327 Airport Road, Boulder
$25 per car
The Boulder International Film Festival's 2020 circuit was interrupted when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. As a consolation prize, BIFF and the City of Boulder are hosting a Saturday night movie series at Boulder Municipal Airport, where they'll show award-winning films from past festivals, as well as films that have not yet been released in Boulder, on a forty-foot screen. The airport gates will open at 7:30 p.m., with the film starting right after sunset; space is limited to 150 cars. See the BIFF website for details.

Dairy Drive-In
Fridays and Saturdays this summer
2590 Walnut Street, Boulder
Tickets $20
The Dairy Arts Center has turned its west parking lot into a drive-in on weekends this summer. Find films and other details here.

Film on the Rocks — The Drive-In
Thursdays through Sundays, starting August 13, doors at 6 p.m.
Red Rocks, Lower South Lot 2 parking area
$59.50 per car
Film on the Rocks returns for its 21st season, with a twist: You'll be watching the film from your car, not sitting in the amphitheater, and the movie will be shown on a giant LED screen in a parking lot. There will be screenings of four different movies four nights a week, starting with Grease. Find out more and get tickets at denverfilm.org.

Holiday Twin Drive-In

Daily
2206 South Overland Trail, Fort Collins
$9 per person, $6 for those under 9 or over 65

The Holiday Twin Drive-In in Fort Collins is going strong this summer. This spot is definitely old-school, but it's enjoying renewed popularity right now. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a double feature; parking is assigned by vehicle height, ensuring that everyone has a clear view of the giant screen. Ticket purchases and concession orders must be made online at the Holiday Twin website, where the drive-in lists its movie offerings and schedule. (And see below for a special event this weekend.)

88 Drive-In Theatre
Sunday through Thursday
8780 Rosemary Street, Commerce City
$9, free for children under 13

The 88 Drive-In Theatre is the last original drive-in in the metro area; opened in 1972, it's been owned by the same family since 1976. The box office opens at 7 p.m. during the week and 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, but the first film — there are usually two, sometimes three — doesn't start until it's dark, at approximately 8:30 p.m. The place is dog-friendly, so bring your pooch (but you must keep it on a leash when you're out of the car). The 88 Drive-In Theatre updates its movie offerings on its Facebook page every Thursday.

Denver Mart Drive-In
Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day
451 East 58th Avenue
$10 per person

The Denver Mart Drive-In made its debut in the parking lot of the large indoor marketplace just off I-25 back in 2015, but it's ideally suited to this coronavirus-conscious summer. Because of social distancing restrictions, admission is capped at 140 cars a night, and ticket sales are online only. The lot opens at 7 p.m. and the movie begins around 8 p.m. — on the area's largest outdoor screen. Bonus: Beer is available.

Special events:

Fortified Cinema Bistro: The Great Outdoors
Sunday, August 16, 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Holiday Twin Drive-In

At this special event, you can get a restaurant-quality meal at the Holiday Twin drive-in, prepared by chef Kevin Grossi of the Regional for a white-tablecloth, silver-screen experience. Before the movie — 1988's The Great Outdoors, Grossi's pick — starts, you'll enjoy a three-course meal. Tickets are $200 per car and include a meal for up to five people, with drinks and bottles of wine available for purchase. Get more info and sign up here.

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