Arts » Arts Stories & Interviews

Free Flicks: How to Watch Blockbusters and Cult Classics Alike Without Breaking the Bank This Summer


  • A24
Staying at home and streaming movies on Netflix still can’t compare to catching them on the big screen, but the price tag at the theater can really take a bite out of your paycheck. But what if we told you that you can have it both ways? Thats right — there are plenty of ways to watch flicks for free here in town, and we guarantee you’ll find something to love, no matter how niche your interests.

When it comes to free movies in San Antonio, Slab Cinema (times and locations vary, is the big dog. With events running on a near-constant basis at locations across the city and even multiple movies on deck for certain nights, the frugal viewing public is spoiled for choice. Screenings feature cult classics, family fare, recent blockbusters and everything in between, and take place at picturesque locations throughout the city like Confluence Park, San Antonio Museum of Art and historic drive-in theater Mission Marquee Plaza. Plus, if you’re willing to drive out to Schertz you can keep cool in the alliterative Pickrell Park Pool for the summer’s Float & Flick series. Upcoming screenings include Aquaman, Karate Kid, Mary Poppins Returns and Pretty In Pink.

The Tobin Center’s got itself a 32-foot video wall, and it’d certainly be a waste not to use it. H-E-B Cinema on the Plaza (8 p.m., second Friday of the month, Will Naylor Smith Plaza, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, features a family-friendly film each month, although they’ve got a PG-13 warning listed for June’s selection Jurassic Park. Each film is complemented by an available selection of thematically appropriate snacks — which, alas, will cost you a bit of cash — and you’ll also need to “BYOC” (bring your own chair) if you don’t want to plop yourself down on the ground.

Looking for something more artsy? Get REEL at the McNay Museum (7 p.m., last Thursday of each month, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., invites guest curators to choose films that complement each of the museum’s exhibitions. The latest iteration of the series has been curated in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today by none other than Bryan Rindfuss, the Current’s contributing arts editor. The remaining screenings in the series include Boys Don’t Cry (June 27), All About My Mother (July 25) and Tangerine (August 29).

Another series to keep your eye on is the newly launched Contemporary Film Series (Ruby City, 111 Camp St.,, a collaboration between the Blue Star Contemporary and British architect David Adjaye’s Ruby City. The series premiered in May with a screening of Oscar-winning film Moonlight and will take place twice annually.

If your tastes run, well, to the weird, look no further than Planet X Cinema (8 p.m., last Friday of each month, Künstler Brewing, 302 E. Lachapelle St., and Video Dungeon Theatre (9 p.m., third Thursday of each month, Oak Hills Tavern, 7920 Fredericksburg Road, With the rise in popularity of so-bad-it’s-good cinema, these film series posit that many oft-maligned movies are unequivocally rad in their own right. Planet X’s summer of “righteous trash” kicks off with Surf Ninjas (June 28) followed by James Cameron’s Piranha 2 (July 26), while Video Dungeon beats the heat by rocking out with a screening of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (June 20).

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