Specifically, five humble drive-ins: A Web site launched last week invites visitors to decide which ones will receive new digital projectors -- and stay in business a little longer -- courtesy of the automaker.
Last week, in an attempt to draw awareness to a part of American culture that’s slowly disappearing, Honda launched a Web site that invites visitors to vote on which five of America’s remaining drive-in theaters will receive free digital projectors. In addition, the site encourages people to spread the word through social media, and includes a link that accepts donations to the automaker’s Project Drive-In Fund.
Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday
What’s the Big Idea?
At their peak, shortly after World War II, more than 4,000 drive-ins dotted the American landscape, representing 25 percent of all movie screens. Because the motion picture industry is expected to stop distributing 35-millimeter versions of its films at the end of this year, the drive-ins that are left will have to convert to digital projection if they want to stay in business. Unfortunately, such systems can cost upwards of $75,000, which is out of reach for owners of some smaller theaters. Honda executive Alicia Jones says that the company is committed to helping save as many as it can: “Cars and drive-in theaters go hand-in-hand, and it’s our mission to save this decades-old slice of Americana that holds such nostalgia for so many of us.”