Keeper of the Plans

Wichita drive-in fans rejoice: Your friends don’t have to hide in the trunk this year

A night at the Starlite Drive-In

Some of the sights and sounds associated with a night at Wichita's drive-in movie theater (April 2016).
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Some of the sights and sounds associated with a night at Wichita's drive-in movie theater (April 2016).

Wichita’s Starlite Drive-In is bringing back a popular pricing model it did away with last year.

This spring, moviegoers at the drive-in will be charged by the carload – as was tradition prior to last year.

Over the peak summertime months, Starlite will return to individual ticketing – before the per-carload pricing returns in the fall.

Last year, Starlite owner Chuck Bucinski said the abolishment of the per-carload pricing system was at movie studios’ suggestion.

While studios can’t dictate how much a theater must charge, Bucinski said it’s up to each studio’s discretion to license movies to the Starlite.

“There will be a few studios while on carload pricing we won't be able to show their movies right when they get released,” he said in an email Tuesday.

When the Starlite returns to individual ticket-pricing in the summer, “we won’t have any issues with any studio,” he said.

It will cost $13 per carload to get into Starlite Drive-In this spring and fall.

In the summer, regular admission of $9 for anyone 12 and older and $3 for youth 5-11 applies.

The drive-in opens with a triple-feature the weekend of March 2-3.

Reaction to the announcement was overwhelmingly positive on Starlite’s Facebook page, where people said the return of carload pricing will make it easier for families and other large groups to come to the theater in non-peak months.

Specific dates are subject to change. For more information, visit

When Wichita's drive-in transitioned to digital projectors in 2013, the film reels went away. Starlite owner Chuck Bucinski shows how the Starlite plays movies now. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)