Farewell to the dying drive-in
There are only 368 left in the US, and a few close every year. But there is hope for the ones that can survive.
But drive-in movies are a relic for much of the country. There are only 368 left in the U.S., and a few close every year. The Drive-Ins.com website chronicles the state of these theaters across the country. In Arizona, for example, only two theaters remain out of 50.
Family movie night is now streamed in high-def to living rooms. At theater chains like Regal Entertainment Group (RGC), Cinemark (CNK) and Carmike (CKEC), the closest thing to nostalgia is a remake of the "A-Team." Now, it's all about 3-D and the inflated ticket prices those movies bring.
But those high ticket prices are actually doing favors for the drive-ins that still exist. One Los Angeles area drive-in only charges $7 for adults and $1 for children, The New York Times reports. And you can bring your own food. That has helped some drive-ins increase revenue as families seek more affordable entertainment.
One drive-in chain in California told the Times that its 2011 ticket and snack bar revenue rose 43% from three years earlier.
Drive-ins will continue to close every year, but there is hope for the ones that can stand up to the allure of multiplexes. Some are installing digital projectors and other technologies and have replaced the old speakers with a radio frequency system. They're serving better food and doing more to cater to children.
But for many families, the idea of piling into the car for an outdoor movie night is a thing of the past.
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My wife and I still prefer Drive-Ins. Nobody shooting up the places either. The ones that survive should bring back the special pay one price for the whole car load. That was always a big booster for profits 40 years ago.
One of the biggest benefits of drive ins it that you never have to hear a moron with a cell phone, or listen to someone's dim witted children talk during the movie.
I don't go to movies much because of those 2 factors. People are just too rude to be around anymore.
we here in Tulsa Okla recently help rebuild our Admirial Twin drive in after fire destroyed it. It is a part of our City
I forgot to mention one aspect of the drive-in that you can't do in an indoor theater. We would make out in the car, sometimes the movie was just an excuse for fooling around. For my girlfriend and I it was the only place we could get away for a little experimentation in the back seat. Those were the days, I learned a lot about the opposite sex. Got smacked once in a while for overstepping my bounds but it sure was fun when she allowed me to go farther than expected.
For those of us who grew up in the 50's and 60's, the Drive Ins holds special memories. Because of the way cars were back then (no middle console), should I say, we got very close to our dates. A lot of young people didn't see a lot of the movie as the windows were usually fogged -up. Many parents did not let their kids take the family car to the Drive In as they heard all the kids did was "make out" in the cars during the movies. The good old days with the big front and back seats - if you know what I mean.
Back in those days you would hide friends in the truck or have them lay down on the floor of the backseat and cover them with a blacket so you won't have to pay form them.
There is a drive-in in Beaufort, SC. We go whenever we visit family there. I love it because it brings back memories of when my sisters, brother & I would pile into the back of the family station wagon to go to the drive-in in Algiers (New Orleans), LA. We would be in our pajamas, Mom would bring dinner or snacks and if someone got sleepy, we would have our pillows. Now in Beaufort, we get to take our baby grandaughter without worrying about whether she will disturb anyone else. Best kind of family fun!
In my youth a Drive-in theater was the best way to see a movie. Your appearance didn't matter because no one saw you. We would have parties as a teenager, just bring a lawn chair. No air conditioning in summer, no heat in winter yet we had a blast. Now I'm in my mid 50's and would never consider going to a drive-in but the memories will remain. They may be dying out but I'll always have a fondness for them.
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