Hundreds of drive-in theaters around the country are preparing to close up shop at the end of the year thanks to the end of 35mm film distribution, and the high cost of switching to digital projection, a minimum of $75,000 per screen. Thankfully, Honda has launched Project Drive-In, a national effort to save as many of these theaters as possible.
Project Drive-In is raising awareness across the country, and will supply at least five theaters with the expensive digital projectors. Honda is also introducing easy ways for the communities to get involved to save these landmarks and ensure that this part of car culture and American cinema continues to thrive.
“Cars and drive-in theaters go hand-in-hand, and it’s our mission to save this decades-old slice of Americana that holds such nostalgia for so many of us. We’re committed to helping the remaining drive-in theaters flourish with the move to digital projection,” said Alicia Jones, Manager of Honda & Acura Social Marketing at American Honda Motor Co. in a statement.
The first drive-in theaters opened in 1933, growing in popularity and reached their peak just after World War II, where there were an estimated 4,000 theaters across the country by the 1960s. Honda wants to preserve this experience, and at Project Drive-In, people can vote for the five theaters that will get a new digital projector. Voting ends on September 9, with the winners being revealed later in the month. Each winning theater will celebrate with a special screening of Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, which will hit local theaters September 27.