A deal has been announced to keep the Starlite Drive-In Theater open in south Wichita. The deal was brokered by city council member James Clendenin and community leaders, and Tulsa drive-in theater owner Blake Smith will be taking over operations of the drive-in.
The Starlite closed in October and the projectors were sold. A number of citizens held a rally and began collecting donations to save the theater. Clendenin said the community came together for a well-known and popular theater, and he’s excited for the opportunity.
Smith said he will be looking to open the Starlite in late February or March. He said he will be looking to purchase projectors to replace the ones that were sold. He said he looked at the numbers and saw that the Starlite was doing well and he knew that the community was supporting it, and when the opportunity came for him to take it over, it was too good to turn down.
An anonymous local investor is actually buying the Starlite property, and Smith will be operating the theater along with his Admiral Twin Drive-In Theater in Tulsa.
A pledge page on Facebook has raised $50,000 to save the Starlite, with a goal of $200,000, and Smith said that will help.