Drive-in enters contest to pay for digital
Top five vote-getters in the nation will win conversion
BARSTOW • The owner of the Skyline Drive-In is asking that the public vote for the outdoor theater in Honda Motor Co.’s Project Drive-In contest, which will award costly digital projectors to the nation’s top five vote-getters.
A win for the Barstow drive-in could be what saves it.
“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,” the website for Project Drive-In reads.
Soon-to-be required digital projection, as movie studios conclude the phasing out of 35 mm film prints, has left many of the 350 or so drive-ins which remain in the U.S. scrambling to find the funds to adapt.
The cost per screen to switch from film to digital is roughly $80,000, according to Honda — a significant sum for mom-and-pop operators.
“We are struggling with this financial hurdle,” Gene Harvey, owner of the Skyline Drive-In, wrote Wednesday on the Barstow Theaters Facebook page.
Harvey told the Desert Dispatch earlier this month that he was exploring several options to finance the conversion, including renting the equipment.
Approximately 1.2 million total votes have already been cast on ProjectDriveIn.com as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
To vote for the Skyline Drive-In, visit ProjectDriveIn.com and find the “Vote to Save a Drive-In” link in the top menu. Text a vote by texting Vote85 to 444999.
Individuals can vote both through the website and by text message once a day until Sept. 9.
Shea Johnson can be reached at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com or 760-256-4126.