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The Death of the American Drive-in 236

Posted by Soulskill
from the radio-star-murder-suspected-in-odd-family-slaying dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Claire Suddath writes in Businessweek that the number of drive-ins in America has dwindled from over 4,000 in the 1960s to about 360 today. Since Hollywood distributors are expected to stop producing movies in traditional 35 millimeter film by the end of this year and switch entirely to digital, America's last remaining drive-ins — the majority of which are still family-owned and seasonally operated — could soon be gone. 'We have challenges that other movie theaters don't,' says John Vincent, president of United Drive-In Theater Owners Association and the owner of Wellfleet Drive-In in Cape Cod, Mass. 'We have fewer screens and can only show one or two movies a night. Now we have to spend tens of thousands of dollars just to stay in business.' According to Vincent, only 150 drive-ins have converted to digital so far — the other 210 have until the end of the year either to get with the program or go out of business. It may seem silly to fret over the fate of 210 movie theaters whose business model is outdated, even compared with regular movie theaters, but Honda Motor Co. is offering help with a program called 'Project Drive-In.' The car company is planning to give away five digital projectors by the end of the year. Winners will be determined by voting from the public, which can be done online through Sept. 9 at ProjectDriveIn.com. 'Cars and drive-in theaters go hand in hand,' says Alicia Jones, manager of Honda & Acura social marketing, 'and it's our mission to save this slice of Americana that holds such nostalgia for many of us.'"
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The Death of the American Drive-in

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  • Dude... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @08:10AM (#44599565) Homepage Journal
    Those things were dead when I was a little boy, 30 years ago. I seem to recall running across two or three rotting corpses of drive-in theaters in my travels and have never seen one that didn't look like something that had been through a zombie apocalypse. Drive in theaters were a prop for sitcoms of my parent's generation. You know what I never heard growing up? "Hey! Let's all go to the drive-in theater!" I think mom may have mentioned going to one with her family a couple of times when she was a little girl, and she was a little girl back when we still had military bases in Libya. Saying drive-in theaters are dying is like saying faith in the flat earth is dying. If they were ever healthy, it was over half a century ago. There may be a handful of people trying to keep the games the pilgrims played alive, or writing yn fhe olde ftyle wyth ys for "i"s and fs for "s"s, but that doesn't mean those things are still alive!

    Therefore the headline "The Death of the American Drive-In" comes about 50 years too late. It's not "news" anymore, and it hasn't been for as long as I've been alive.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @09:56AM (#44600211) Journal
    Hollywood's ditching of 35mm film distribution in favour of digital projection is going to put a lot of movie theatres out of business, not just Drive-ins. Of course, the real killer is the "home theatre". Today's high def TVs and the easy availability of content (Netflix, torrents, etc), topped with super high prices for snacks and candy is what is really taking chunks out of the cinema business.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2013 @09:57AM (#44600221)

    The reason no one goes to them today is because cars have long been unsuitable for, ahem, romance. Not to mention either a bunch of friends, or a couple of kids along. Nobody can move in a modern car. In a pre 1970's car, you could put the seat back - a long bench - and have plenty of room. Now you have two "bucket" seats, and a plastic console and stick-shift in between. The back seat's no better, with it's two indentations, and seat-belt buckles sticking up. Let's face it, cars aren't comfortable enough to sit and watch a movie in, let alone anything else.

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