Remembering the drive-in theater brings a smile to my face, not to mention… many fond memories of attending the movies with friends growing up. But what’s happened to these gigantic screens that once was a part of our movie world? With prices of real-estate and interest rates being high, the drive-in movies have become a thing of the past. Offering a sizable piece of land, these former properties made way for newer types of businesses such as flea markets, shopping centers and even churches.
I believe there are many of us that would love to bring back the drive-in theater; call it nostalgic but it was enjoyable and you always saw two movies for the price of one. Technology always seems to play a part as to ‘Why’ some things go away in life. Large flat screen televisions, including 3D, among so many other options including surround sound systems for your home today… have taken the needs of going out for entertainment and making it somewhat obsolete. Sad… yes I think so anyway. Apparently beginning with the 1970’s era, when the government decided to adopt the new ‘daylight savings’ time in many areas, it made it difficult for the drive-in movies, as they would have to start an hour later, which made it harder to bring in families with smaller children. It took a toll on their attendance, making drive-ins harder to operate successfully; especially when some of these areas can only be operated in the summer. In the late 90’s there was a slight boom of the industry, with many trying to bring back the drive –in Movies. However, with digital conversions being necessary for operation, the cost beginning at $70,000 plus (per screen), only seems to complicate things more for these types of theaters. According to the United Drive-In Theater Association, as of August 2014, there were still 393 locations that were operating, but I’m sure those numbers may have slightly dropped once again. For more information you can go directly to their site at www.uditoa.org/media.html and just click on the state to see where the nearest one is by you. I enjoyed the information this site had to offer, not to mention… for those considering obtaining land with the thoughts of bringing back the nostalgic drive-in theater, there are contacts with this association.
The latest news on USA Drive-ins is the “joining forces” of Johnny Rockets and its plan to create nearly 200 outdoor movie theaters all over the country by 2018. This gets me excited! Those theaters already in existence will be getting the Johnny Rockets makeover. Their idea is to have the option of ordering food from the car and having it delivered so you won’t miss the movie… or, you may stand in line at the concessions. Whichever floats your boat so-to-speak? I think it’s brilliant! It’s going to be a new experience, and I hope they do it well. This is just what the industry needed, and I say that mainly because of the high cost it takes to restore these outdoor movie theaters. It’s too hard for the working mom and pop owners to turn it into digital, and replacing screens is another cost on its own. Oh, there are still a couple of privately owned outdoor screens, but once they are gone… most likely it will turn corporate. If Johnny Rockets can make this a success… more power to them; with a new CEO this year, I’m hoping he takes it to a new level of customer service. I believe it’s a wonderful thing, and they seem to be starting out on route 66.
I say we bring back the Drive-in movies… it was quality family time and a great time for ‘Date Nights’. You have the privacy of sitting in your own vehicle, and what’s not to like about that? Our world could use a little more nostalgic memories; so who couldn’t use a little more smiling throughout our days, or shall I say summer nights?
Make your week count.