Drive-In Theaters struggling as printed film becomes a relic
POSTED: Sunday, August 12, 2012 - 5:05pm
UPDATED: Sunday, August 12, 2012 - 5:14pm
Skyvue Drive-In near Tyler is hoping for the best
SMITH COUNTY — Drive-in movie theaters...they've been around for a while...
In the last decade or so, they've seen a resurgence in popularity...like at Skyvue Drive-In between Tyler and Lindale...
The only difference from the old days is...you listen to the movie through your car radios.
Skyvue manager Robert Phillips tells KETK, other than that, nothing's changed.
Other news stations around the country have been reporting that some drive-ins may have to shut down because of costs.
We called Phillips and asked him why so many are struggling.
"The Hollywood studios as a collective group said that they would discontinue film distribution when 50% of the screens went digital. And that happened in October of 2011. And they announced a December 2013 deadline on when they would make the change," Phillips said.
So instead of shipping 80 lbs of film, the new way involves sending theaters a 2 lb. hard drive you just pop in and press play.
For drive-in's...that means their equipment will be out of date...and digital systems aren't cheap.
"2 years ago when we started looking at prices of these things, the set up that we could use was around $150,000. Now, we've found a few places that a used set up, we could get for around $50,000," Phillips said.
So he's got a little more than a year to figure out what to do about getting a digital projection system before studios stop sending him film...but he's confident Skyvue will find a way...as long as East Texans keep driving in.
"It's part of our Americana, our history that's slipping away and...we're working to keep that alive," Phillips said.