Hollywood's decision to toss 35mm film and go digital could spell doom for some theaters

Drive-ins spending thousands on digital projectors

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - A big change is headed your direction in the way Floridians watch movies.

Most of Hollywood is moving away from 35-millimeter film and going digital, and the process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The moves speaks to technological advances but will cost theaters an average of $70,000 per screen. The costs hit smaller theaters hard, especially for the 368 surviving drive-in theaters which are left with the tough decision to convert or close.

The Lake Worth Drive-In a few months ago removed their 35-millimeter equipment and dished out thousands of dollars for two digital projectors.
The Lake Worth Drive-In is one of a few in the country that have made the switch. According to industry analysts, 90% of drive-ins around the country have not bought the digital projectors.

Many drive-ins shut down in the winter and because of the high costs of the conversion, those theaters might not reopen this spring.
"It kind of makes me feel like we're the last of a dying species,: said Joshua Jordan of the Lake Worth Drive-In. "But I think we'll still go on for a couple of more years until we can't go on anymore."

Employees at the Lake Worth Drive-In said being able to operate all year helps with the added costs. The theater in Lake Worth also runs a flea market during the day, which also helps offset the new expenses.

Print this article Back to Top