Drive-in movie theaters turn 80 years old this summer, and, soon, they might die of old age. There are only 360 drive-in theaters left in the US – down from 4,000 at their peak in 1958 – and the 35-millimeter film projectors that they use to screen movies are quickly losing support from studios, which have switched to digital methods of capturing pictures.

Remember the four-foot poles with speakers built in? You'd pull your car up to it, park, and open your windows to listen to the movie. Well, there's only one company left that makes parts for those speakers, and they don't support surround sound. And the cost to upgrade the projectors to digital systems is prohibitively expensive. James Kopp, manager at the Family Drive-In Theatre in Stephens City, Virginia, says he was quoted nearly $140,000 to make the switch to digital, The Washington Post reports.

Pennsauken, New Jersey, was the first US city to build a drive-in, yet there are no more of them in the state. As gloomy as it looks, there are drive-ins trying to make the switch to digital projection systems, and there are ones that already have. But as drive-ins fall further from our minds, the question is, do people care?

Read The Washington Post article, and tell us what you think in the poll below.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      That poll doesn't make sense. Either question should read "Do you go to drive-in movies" or the responses should be "Yes, I've been often", "I've been a few times" and "I've never been"
      yellowneck24
      • 1 Year Ago
      Poll makes no sense. Both "Yes" answers make it appear you still go to the drive-in (whether all the time or occasionally). How about add a "Yes, but years ago"
      Healthy Chap
      • 1 Year Ago
      Speaker poles? Hah, ours has a short range FM radio broadcast.
      threeclaws
      • 1 Year Ago
      Go all the time, $8 for a double feature is a deal. And my local drive-in upgraded to digital projectors earlier this year so it looks great too.
      Julio B
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have never been to one, but thanks to this article I searched and found two less than an hour from my house. Will be going next weekend.
      chadrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      The US-23 Drive-In (Flint, MI) just upgraded to digital projectors last month at a cost of $90,000 for 3 screens. Only raised ticket prices $1. The Capri Drive-In (Coldwater, MI) upgraded last season.
        chadrick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chadrick
        Both of them have done away with the speakers and just use the FM broadcast. Still keep the poles for parking aides.
      jnik
      • 1 Year Ago
      You left out the option: \"Yes, I used to go, but that was in the past\".
      illegalmachine2
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tommorow: People using 3D printers to revitalize Drive-In Theaters.
      Rob8
      • 1 Year Ago
      Man, those were the days. Good memories, good times.
      StephenT
      • 1 Year Ago
      I haven't been to one since the late 60's or early 70's as a kid. I remember watching one of the Herbie the Love Bug movies there.
      apersonofinterest
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would like to see a brand new all digital picture and sound broadcast through your car stereo. Maybe throw in some nice outdoor seating for walk ins. A diner serving up comfort foods and ice cream and shakes. Snack Bar with outdoor seating. Play Ground for the kids like in the old days and then on the weekends, they would have classic car shows during the day, BBQ in the afternoon and the movies at night. I miss the Drive In
      erie_glass
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am so fortunate to live 5 minutes away from the Mayfield Road Drive-in here in little Chardon, OH. I go once a week with my friends and it is a blast. They made the costly $100,000 upgrade to digital projection and sound this year and I am so thrilled that they will be around for many years to come. If you have not yet been to a drive-in movie, research where the nearest one to you is and go spend an evening there. It's some of the best summer fun you can have.
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