By the end of 2013, most 35mm film distribution in the United States will cease, replaced by widespread digital projection. Aside from the consequences of visual fidelity and print circulation to small theaters throughout the country, one big side effect of the switch will be the potential loss of drive-in theaters. The 300-plus drive-ins across the country have already taken a huge hit in the past few decades, and now with the move to digital projection, only around 10% have made the costly projection switch that would keep them in business past the end of this year. As part of a tie-in for Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, Honda is attempting to save at least five theaters with Project Drive-In, a campaign aimed at preserving a classic part of car culture.
“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,” said Alicia Jones, manager of Honda and Acura Social Marketing at American Honda Motor Co. “We’re committed to helping the remaining drive-in theaters flourish with the move to digital projection.”
Voting on which five theaters will receive the upgrade continues through September 9 at the project website. At least five winning theaters will be selected, but Honda sounds committed enough to saving as many drive-ins as possible that any groundswell of support may help additional theaters.