Digital era threatens tenuous future of drive-ins - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Digital era threatens tenuous future of drive-ins

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 The drive-in movie has been a part of American life for the past 80 years. Now it's facing its latest challenge: the digital era.

Film studios are phasing out 35 mm film prints. That means the 350 or so U.S. drive-ins that are left will have to invest in digital projection equipment or turn out the lights.

The industry says many of the mostly mom & pop operations won't be able to make the investment, even with a program that will reimburse them some of the cost.

The United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association figures that 50 to 60 theaters have made the switch, but it's impossible to tell at this stage how many will be able to follow.

The number of U.S. drive-ins peaked at more than 4,000 in the late 1950s.

Honda recently launched a fundraising campaign called Project Drive-In to save what the car company calls a vanishing icon of America.

There is a drive-in in Warwick, N.Y., about an hour outside of New York City.  There is another one in Vineland, N.J.

Copyright 2013 MyFoxNY.com/The Associated Press.

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