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Conversion to digital movies threatens drive-ins

In this May 2013 photo, projectionist Stephen Phillips adjusts the film projector at the Sunset Drive In Theatre in Mansfield, Ohio. The survival of drive-in theaters is being threatened as movie studios abandon film, forcing drive-in owners to switch to expensive digital equipment. No one has a handle on how many of the country's 357 drive-ins, including the 29 in Ohio, will choose to go digital to survive, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Sunday, June 9, 2013. (Associated Press file photo)
In this May 2013 photo, projectionist Stephen Phillips adjusts the film projector at the Sunset Drive In Theatre in Mansfield, Ohio. The survival of drive-in theaters is being threatened as movie studios abandon film, forcing drive-in owners to switch to expensive digital equipment. No one has a handle on how many of the country's 357 drive-ins, including the 29 in Ohio, will choose to go digital to survive, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Sunday, June 9, 2013. (Associated Press file photo)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 01:11 pm
PLYMOUTH — The decision by movie studios to quit making 35 mm film and convert to a digital format by the end of this year is leaving drive-in theaters across the country with a tough decision.About 350 drive-ins remain operating in the United States, down from about 4,000 in the 1950s. The United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association says that number includes about 20 in Indiana.

The South Bend Tribune reports many theaters are wrestling with whether to convert to digital or close.

The Tri-Way Drive-in Theatre in Plymouth still shows 35 mm movies. The Melody Drive-In Theatre at Bass Lake has converted to digital format.

Movie-goers say they enjoy drive-ins because they offer a family atmosphere and lower cost than traditional theaters.

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