Michigandriveins.com - The Premier Site For Michigan's Drive-In Theater & Restaurant History


The clock is ticking. Time is short. Multiplex indoor theaters, urban encroachment, the advent of the VCR, and declining attendance. These were the primary contagions responsible for the disastrous epidemic of the 1980s that swept the nation and took down thousands of drive-in theaters. The few remaining survivors having been holding on for dear life ever since. Fueled by the growth of the internet, a renewed interest in drive-ins in the early 2000s helped sustain some outdoor theaters, and even spawned a few new builds in other states. Us old-timers waxed nostalgic and youngsters discovered what their parents and grandparents have known all along. The last fifteen or so years have been pretty good for the old drive-in.

But there is a new threat to the drive-in. It's not really new, we've actually known about it for some time. It's been coming, and now it is finally here. This threat will likely cut the count of surviving drive-ins in half. This threat is digital projection. The digital conversion is nearly complete and 2013 will be the last year the Hollywood studios will produce and distribute 35mm film to theaters. The cost to convert a theater from film to digital is approximately $80,000 per screen. Unable to afford these pricey projectors, many drive-in theaters will close at the end of the 2013 season. Honda Motor Company is sponsoring an online contest to help save five U.S. drive-in theaters from extinction. Drive-in fans can go to Honda's Project Drive-In website and vote for your favorite drive-in. The five drive-ins with the most votes will win a digital projector from Honda. You can vote daily through September 9, 2013.

There were once 160 drive-in theaters in Michigan. The state is littered with overgrown empty lots that once lit up and entertained us, night after night. There's just a scattered few with derelict screens still standing, but the hope of ever reopening them is long lost. We call them Drive-In Graveyards. Today there are just eight Open Drive-Ins remaining in Michigan. Two of our historic Michigan outdoor theaters are elidgible for this contest, the Cherry Bowl Drive-In in Honor, and the Hi-Way Drive-In in Carsonville. Please vote daily and help save both the Cherry Bowl and the Hi-Way from becoming Graveyards.

Related Links: Project Drive-In -- Hi-Way Drive-In -- Hi-Way Facebook Page
Cherry Bowl Drive-In -- Cherry Bowl Facebook Page -- Upnorthlive.com Cherry Bowl article
Benzie County Record Patriot Cherry Bowl article

^^ Vote for the Cherry Bowl Drive-In ^^

^^ Vote for the Hi-Way Drive-In ^^

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