According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado saw a population increase of 101,000 from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015. They come from all over for a variety of reasons, but let’s be honest, they are here because the weather is spectacular and the beer is delicious. And with another summer upon us, they demand entertainment. They want to be outside, they want to enjoy an adult beverage or two and they want to watch a movie. Thankfully, the Centennial State has them covered.
Here are a few of Colorado’s cinematic options. No self-respecting Coloradoan will want to miss these. For all of you transplants out there, these are the places to go if you want to start building that “native” cred, so throw on some fleece — it can get mighty chilly when the sun goes down — grab a choice microbrew and catch a classic under the stars.
Thanks to inflatable movie screens and portable projectors, outdoor cinemas are just about everywhere these days. Just make sure to double check the website as to what you can and cannot bring to the show.
Film on the Rocks
Red Rocks Amphitheater
18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison
The crème de la crème of outdoor moviegoing belongs to the Denver Film Society, and they know how to put on one hell of a show. This year, Film on the Rocks is screening nine movies at Red Rocks, and the offerings run the gamut from cult classics to blockbuster entertainment, including arguably the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane.
Both Citizen Kane and Red Rocks are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year — Citizen Kane debuted on May 1, 1941 and Red Rocks Amphitheater officially opened on June 15 — and if you’ve never seen this pillar of cinema, or have yet to experience a movie under the Colorado stars, start here. Kane will screen on 35mm — that in itself is cause for travel — various heads of state will deliver a keynote address and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra will perform beforehand. That’s a whole lot of Coloradoness packed into one fantastic evening.
A word to wise: if you have yet to accept Colorado’s embrace of marijuana as a form of recreation, or just plain hate the smell, Red Rocks might not be your cup of tea — particularly the Memorial Day screening of The Big Lebowski. Considered yourself warned.
Each movie will be preceded by a musical act.
May 23: Grease sing-a-long
May 30: The Big Lebowski
June 15: Citizen Kane
June 20: Ferris Bueller’s Day off
July 11: The Sandlot
July 25: Labyrinth
Aug. 23: Deadpool
Sept. 6: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Boulder Outdoor Cinema
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
1750 13th St., Boulder
Boulder’s Outdoor Cinema has been a summer staple since 1995. Featuring weekly movies with a focus on pop contemporary classics with pre-show activities, music and plenty of food. Check the website regularly for updates to movie showings.
June 11: ET: The Extra Terrestrial
July 17: The Big Lebowski
4655 W. 37th Ave., Denver
“To not see Elitch’s is to not see Denver” boasts the website, and we’re inclined to agree. The series is short, just four showings across two months, but the location is lovely and all proceeds from concession sales go to restoring the historic theatre — so leave that picnic basket at home. Admission is $5 per person and children under 6 get in free.
June 10: Raiders of the Lost Ark
June 24: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
July 8: Jaws
July 22: Hairspray (2007 musical)
Infinity Park at
950 S. Birch St., Denver
Don’t worry about admission costs — all the movies are free and the screen is huge. Bring some friends, some food and a blanket.
June 13: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
June 27: The Goonies
July 11: Mamma Mia!
July 25: Mrs. Doubtfire
August 8: Aladdin
Just because you want to see a movie under the stars doesn’t mean that you have to sit outside. Why not load the whole gang into the station wagon and catch a double feature at the local drive-in?
88 Drive-In Theater
8780 Rosemary St., Commerce City
Its $8 a person, children under 12 free. Opens at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and shows three current releases nightly. The snack bar serves pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, candy and soda.
2625 Santa Fe Drive, Pueblo
Opening in 1951, The Mesa Drive-In has three screens, each showing two movies a night. Tickets at $8.50 for adults, free for children under 12 and all shows begin at dusk.
Tru Vu Drive In Theater
1001 CO-92, Delta
Current release double features every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. $8 for anyone over 12, free for those younger. Cash only.
The Star Drive-In Theatre
600 E. Miami Road, Montrose
Just like the rest, only this one sports a “Back to the ’60s Nite” classic car show on June 4.
Chautauqua Silent Film Series
900 Baseline Road, Boulder
Not all of Colorado’s summer cinematic offerings are al fresco. Chautauqua’s Silent Film Series is held in their gigantic wooden auditorium. However, Chautauqua is a historic landmark — the only Chautauqua west of the Mississippi River that is still in continuing unbroken operation since the Chautauqua heyday of the 1920s — and it’s the perfect venue to dive into cinema’s past, namely, silent movies.
Live musical accompaniment is a key component to silent film, and Mont Alto will be on hand for three of the shows, the Silent Film Trio will lend at hand with The Big Parade and ace silent film pianist Hank Troy will tickle the ivories for five of them.
They don’t make ’em like the used to, but at Chautauqua, they sure do show ’em that way.
June 1: The General
June 7: Show People
June 22: Bardelys the Magnificent
June 29: Beauty and the Beast
July 6: The Cameraman
July 13: Why Be Good?
July 20: The Kid
July 27: The Big Parade
Aug. 3: Daughter of Dawn
Aug. 9: For Heaven’s Sake and Number Please
Art House Cinemas
Boulder Art Cinema
1001 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder
The Boulder Art Cinema is a partnership between the Boulder Public Library and Downtown Boulder, Inc. Head down to the Boulder Public Library’s Canyon Theater for first-run, independent films.
Boedecker Theater at the Dairy Center for the Arts
2590 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-7826, ext. 110
The Boedecker Theater at the Dairy Center for the Arts has quickly proven itself as a unique and exciting addition to the Boulder film scene. Boasting a 60-seat theater, 5.1 Surround Sound and Hi-Def DLP projection, this is a great place to enjoy a glass of beer or wine while viewing first-run independent and international films, live opera and ballet broadcasts via satellite, and other quality programming.
Telluride Film Festival
Sept. 2-5, Telluride
Skiing, bluegrass and now films. Telluride has become a year-round destination for indoor and outdoor fun. If you’re looking for another reason to go to Telluride, the 43rd annual Telluride Film Festival could be your excuse. Like every year, the lineup is hush-hush. Festival organizers keep the list of titles secret until opening day, making this one of the most anticipated, exciting film festivals of the season. See telluridefilmfestival.org or call 510-665-9494 for more details.
Annual Breckenridge Festival of Film
Sept. 15-18, Breckenridge,
Ah, beautiful Breckenridge. Did you really need another reason to call us into the mountains? Capturing both the grand and the intimate, this is quite possibly a perfect film festival. For information on movies as they are announced, as well as tickets and lodging info, check out or call.