In the late 1950s to mid-'60s, there were about 5,000 theaters operating across the United States. Today there are only 445 open drive-in theaters operating around the world, 353 of which are in the U.S. Within the year, film companies will stop producing movies on 35mm film, forcing all theaters to switch to digital projectors. Digital projectors can cost between $60,000 – $100,000, and most drive-ins are only open for six months out of the year. It is estimated that over half of the existing drive-ins will close as a result of the much higher cost.
The good news: Honda Motor Co. has introduced a national campaign to try to save some of these national treasures. They are sponsoring a contest to find America's favorite drive-ins by popular vote. Voting began on Aug. 9 and will run through Sept. 9. There are approximately 70 theaters in the contest. The top five drive-ins that receive the most votes will receive a free digital projector, which will keep them in business and allow you to continue attending the Great American Drive-In theater.
Here is how you can help: Go to projectdrivein.com everyday and vote for your favorite drive-in (Sparta!). You can vote on any device that connects to the internet (tablets, iPad, computer, smart phones, etc). No email address is required. You can also text "vote24" to 444999. Tell your friends about this, and spread it like wildfire. Vote early and vote often! This could be the difference in having one of the very few drive-ins left in the country. Go to http://projectdrivein.com/