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Conversion to digital movies threatens drive-ins

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 1:19 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.