If you are lucky enough to have had the experience of piling into a car, popping the trunk, and channel surfing for the movie sound before settling in for the double feature, you know what sort of classic movie nostalgia comes at the drive-in. It’s as American as apple pie and baseball. And just in case you need reminded of how amazing drive-in movie theaters are, take a look at these beauties!
The sad truth is, with a declining audience and a market who craves high resolution images, drive-ins are struggling to find the coin to make the estimated $70,000 upgrades for stronger projection bulbs and digital projectors. In fact, the needed upgrade has caused a fall in drive-in establishments. As of March, 2014 there were only 348 drive-in movie theaters in the US as compared to the more than 2,400 drive-ins in 1980.
So, how are these iconic establishments to pull through in today’s digital revolution without going dark? Companies like Honda, Mashable, and Hagerty are getting serious of drive-in prevention by collaborating with movie enthusiasts and encouraging local business support via social media.
Mashable collaborated with Honda in 2013 to create Project Drive-In. Throughout the national campaign, people could help spread the word about drive-in preservation using hashtag #savethedrivein, encouraged people to see a movie at their local drive-in, and people were able to vote which drive-ins would receive upgraded projectors donated by Honda.
Photo by Hagerty.com
Also this past July, Hagerty hosted a nationwide “bring back family night at the drive-in” photo contest. Classic car owners and their families were instructed to cruise to their local drive-in with their cars dressed based on the year of their car, and share their drive-in family photo on Facebook. Raised preservation and it looked like a great time to us!
Some theaters like Blue Fox in Well Harbor, WA and The Family Drive-In in Stephens City, VA have found ways to still generate large summer audiences on their own by offering other amenities like yard sales, go-karts, arcades, and even restaurants.
While some drive-ins are still trying to raise upgrading funds, some theaters have already made the switch to digital and are thriving, like the Delsea Drive-In Theatre in Vineland, NJ. Built in 1949, Delsea is the state’s last standing drive-in theater. Worth the drive if you are in the area!
Give high res. a rest and support slightly fuzzy (but still amazing) screens at your local drive-in! This handy database will help you find one in your corner of the world.
PS If you go check out a drive-in, we’d love to see your photos! Please post them in the comments below.