drive-in postcard

The Future of Drive-in Theatres

drive-in postcardOne of  THS’s current exhibits, Movie Exhibition: From Film to Digital, covers the history of projection. Coming soon will be a NEW EXHIBIT about the history of drive-in theatres, Movies in the Moonlight: The Life and Times of the American Drive-In Theatre.  If you are going to be in the area on Friday, February 1st come by THS for our open house and exhibit opening.  RSVP to the office at (630) 782-1800 or The exhibit will run February 2013 through January 2014.

We have been hearing a lot lately about the switch to digital projectors.  While the press so far has dealt mainly with indoor theatres, the focus seems to have shifted to how drive-in theatres will deal with the transition.  In fact, an internet search turns up half a dozen articles published in the last week that deal with this topic specifically. Just as with ‘hardtop’ theatres, drive-ins are struggling to raise the necessary funds for the conversion.  However, some sources say that the digital projector and lamp combinations have stronger lighting that’s better for the parking-lot-sized throw distances found in drive-in theatres. Either way, be sure to support your local drive-in theatre if you want the continued option to see a movie under the stars. 

Drive-in theaters edge toward extinction

Michael White
Published 8:08 pm, Sunday, December 30, 2012


Drive-in movie theaters that scraped by during the surge in modern multiplexes are edging closer to extinction as Hollywood phases out the 35-millimeter reels they need to show films.

Most of the remaining 368 U.S. drive-ins, down from more than 4,000 in 1958, must decide whether to pay as much as $70,000 to install digital projectors for their large outdoor screens. About 10 percent have, and the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association anticipates that studios will move to electronic delivery only as soon as the end of next year.

To read more:

Thanks to THS member Terry Monohan for sending us this story.

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