Saving an American icon … the drive-in movie theatre

By David Esteppe

In less than three months, the majority of American drive-in theaters will face closure with the movie industry’s switch from film to digital. Upgrading to digital projection costs roughly $80,000.

International company, Honda, is sponsoring the Project Drive-In on Indegogo’s international crowd funding platform website. Honda’s plan is to have Americans vote to save their favorite drive-in and Honda will donate the new equipment to the top five.

There are approximately 368 drive-ins still needing to upgrade or go out of business forever. By going to and searching for your local drive-in and voting you will help preserve these icons.

The project says there are several ways to help. Spread the word, pledge to visit a drive-in or contribute to the fundraising effort on indigo via the link on the project website.

With 40 days to go, $27, 093 dollars towards the $100,000 goal has been donated. There are perks for donations of $5-$5,000 which include movie tickets, buttons, and your company name or logo appearing in the “Special Thanks” section of your saved drive-in winner’s video.

Two West Virginia drive-ins are on the project’s list. Meadow Bridge and Mt. Zion are hoping to remain open with assistance from the project. You may search for and designate your vote and/or contribution goes to the theatre you wish to save.

“…it would cost $85,000 to upgrade from 35mm film to digital and we just don’t make that kind of money.” —Drive-in owner, West Virginia

“… Most of the profit is made at our snack bar, because the movie company gets most of the ticket money. Most people don’t realize that.” —Drive-in owner, Pennsylvania

Saving every drive-in will cost millions. Honda is hoping to raise community awareness and contributions to save a piece of Americana, one family business at a time. You can find and attend one of Honda’s pop-up drive-ins listed on the website and the money raised there too will go in support of the project.

There is a three minute video to watch and sense tradition. Catch it on the website or search you tube for Project Drive-In.

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