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Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? #4511755
09/09/17 06:49 PM
09/09/17 06:49 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 4,195
Midwest USA
LoneRanger Offline OP
LoneRanger  Offline OP
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 4,195
Midwest USA
My fiancee and I were talking fondly of our memories of going to a drive-in to watch whatever movie back in the days. Drive-in's have died and are few and far between anymore. So we wondered about the plausibility of opening a new drive-in. Could it make any profit whatsoever or would it lose money hand over fist? Seasonal around here, so there's one minus to revenue. May - October at best. And isn't there some franchise thing or restriction from the movie industry on how many screens in a regional area can one movie be playing on for the same run? In other words, if your town already has a total of x number of screens in multi-plex indoor theaters around town could a drive-in even get any movies or would the quota for your area be closed? I have no idea how it works, just curious.

With the auto industry thriving and America's love affair with vehicles as strong as ever, it seems like a drive-in could work. I have great memories of going with my older brothers as a kid to see movies at the drive-in. I specifically remember my oldest brother (r.i.p.) and my other older brother and I all went to see High Plains Drifter in 1973 when I was 10. Oldest brother had a 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 hard top coupe black over red, white leather interior, floor shifter, and either a 383 or 426 I can't remember I just know it hauled. That's the car we went to see High Plains Drifter in. Weird how certain childhood memories never seem to fade, that is one of them for me. It was a warm summer night and my big brothers and I went to the drive-in in my brother's cool car. I remember at the drive-in there was a guy with his girlfriend in a new Mustang Mach 1, it was gray with black graphics and after the movie leaving there was this long straight avenue and the guy tried to pull on us with the Mach 1. We destroyed him.

Last edited by wwillson; 09/10/17 07:58 AM. Reason: bypassing censor
Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511764
09/09/17 07:10 PM
09/09/17 07:10 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,889
Utah
CKN Offline
CKN  Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,889
Utah
What has mostly put Drive-Ins out of business is the real estate the owners had been sitting on. They asked themselves-"Do I want to charge $10.00/pop for a ticket or sell this real estate I'm sitting on for 20 million?"

I'd think about that for like 5 seconds......it's nice to have memories though.

We have beautiful multiplexes here. Has a lobby with food stands (foods fairly decent btw), table seating, and most of all reserve seats at no extra cost. Also-they have $5.00/Tuesday-all seats $5.00 bucks-even those in Imax!

Last edited by CKN; 09/09/17 07:14 PM.
Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511768
09/09/17 07:20 PM
09/09/17 07:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,614
Dallas,Tx USA
aquariuscsm Offline
aquariuscsm  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,614
Dallas,Tx USA
I love going to the drive-in. It's a great place to take your girl/wife.


1996 Nissan 300ZX 5-speed,Arctic Pearl(#175 of 300)
Quaker State Ultimate Durability 10W30
2012 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L 2.4,auto,San Marino Red
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Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511777
09/09/17 07:31 PM
09/09/17 07:31 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,335
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,335
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Got a couple near me that are making it. One is on a worthless lot in Barstow,Ca. Probably why its still here lol.


02 Wrangler durablend 10w40
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Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511785
09/09/17 07:43 PM
09/09/17 07:43 PM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 4,225
New England
Virtus_Probi Offline
Virtus_Probi  Offline
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 4,225
New England
Drive ins were fun, but I remember that the sound through the [censored] speaker was terrible at best and the things often were just broken.
I guess an option today would be to use a phone app to let people listen to the movie on their own headphones or through their car's speakers.

But, people have so many options for watching movies at home (often on quite large screens) that make any kind of theater a tough proposition these days...small neighborhood theaters with single screens are going the way of the dodo. I still like going out to see movies, but the one thing that sometimes just kills the experience for me is that horror enabled by modern technology...the idiot messing with their phone in the set right in front of me. That little superbright screen washes out the movie being projected for me, and good luck trying to tell one of those morons to put the stupid phone away.

Oh, BTW, any theater that wants to play first run movies these days is going to need a digital projector (I think they are almost all DLP now) which represents a pretty major capital investment.

Last edited by Virtus_Probi; 09/09/17 07:44 PM.

2014 Forester XT, 86000 miles
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Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511786
09/09/17 07:44 PM
09/09/17 07:44 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,968
IL
Vern_in_IL Offline
Vern_in_IL  Offline
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,968
IL
At one time I knew of two local Drive-Ins....

One got bought out in 2007 by the adjacent scrap yard....when scrap prices were overheated.

..and another one that has been around since the '50's.

It is really hard to keep a Drive-In open, there is not much profit in a Drive-In. It is a novelty, but in the days of cell phones and stupid parents, a Drive-In really is appealing to me.

I would invest in a Drive-In, I would NEVER invest in a indoor screen projection theater!!!! They are obsolete, only viable in large towns. The only thing keeping the brick and mortar's alive is first release exclusives.

I see many more patrons at Drive-Ins than theaters, many times I'm the only one in the room to see the movie.


Last edited by Vern_in_IL; 09/09/17 07:51 PM.
Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511799
09/09/17 07:53 PM
09/09/17 07:53 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,845
MTL, CANADA
Rolla07 Offline
Rolla07  Offline
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,845
MTL, CANADA
Its going to cost you a bit to get started (alot). Depends on the projectors you buy but they are pricey, then comes the cost of the reels and knowledge of splicing them together on the platter. The bulb is pricey in the older ones. I love a drive in..but most seem dull to me (hard to see even when dark out). Unfortunately, you still cant escape noisy people in their vehicles. Not sure you would recoup your initial investment for at least 5-10 years.


2007 Corolla Red Pearl 155k miles
PP 0w20 & ST 4967

Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511810
09/09/17 07:59 PM
09/09/17 07:59 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 3,774
New England
madRiver Offline
madRiver  Offline
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 3,774
New England
Enjoy the memories. Remember this fun form of entertainment came around because it was impossible to watch movies anywhere but movie theater or drive in venue.

Now it's possible anywhere, anytime and many mediums. Even for little money you can build a screen out of a large sheet(16' x 9') and $500 projector.

Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511814
09/09/17 08:01 PM
09/09/17 08:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 34
Ontario Canada
Scrum67 Offline
Scrum67  Offline
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 34
Ontario Canada
There is one 10 minutes from my door. They have a small range FM transmitter for sound. Can't remember the station they use but it is a duel screen so they have 2 stations. The sound quality is what your car has. I love it with the subwoofer kicking in while watching movies.

Last edited by Scrum67; 09/09/17 08:03 PM.

2017 Ford 150 XLT Sport
2016 Honda CRV
Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511816
09/09/17 08:04 PM
09/09/17 08:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,861
The Canyons
02SE Offline
02SE  Offline
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,861
The Canyons
There's one not too far from my home. It stays open year-round by hosting swap meets. The Movie side of it is seasonal from Spring through Fall.

I have some good memories of Drive-ins too, but I haven't been to one in probably 25 years.

Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511822
09/09/17 08:12 PM
09/09/17 08:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,831
Texas
WyrTwister Offline
WyrTwister  Offline
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,831
Texas
We have a Drive-In here in our burg . Sound is on a specific FM station . Been a few times . Do not know how it is doing financially ?

Truth is , a lot of the revenue in the theater industry comes from the snack bar .

Best wishes , :-)


Wyr
God bless
Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511823
09/09/17 08:14 PM
09/09/17 08:14 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 717
Canada
i_hate_autofraud Offline
i_hate_autofraud  Offline
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 717
Canada


There's a Drive-in near me, so that's good but the land is worth more then it brings in with admissions! Sad!

Many late model GMs won't let you keep the radio on with accessory power. You have to turn the ignition key every
15 minutes as it "times out" So I brought a separate radio for the movie audio on the FM band!

Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: i_hate_autofraud] #4511840
09/09/17 08:38 PM
09/09/17 08:38 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 49
New England
spiritrider Offline
spiritrider  Offline
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 49
New England
I can't see a new drive-in being viable.

The economics of regular movie theaters are already very challenging these days. You seldom see independent theaters any more. They generally share ticket revenues equally with the studio. The only chance they have to be profitable is with those outrageously expensive concessions and now increasingly advertising before the movie.

While a drive-in can still do the advertising, it will be even less well received there. However, the logistics of concessions must be far different in a drive-in. People are far more likely to bring their own drinks, candy, etc... They may still buy some hot popcorn, but that is about it.

Maybe, if you already had the sunk cost of the land and are subject to minimal property taxes, it might be marginally viable. That is probably the case with existing drive-ins.

Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: i_hate_autofraud] #4511842
09/09/17 08:39 PM
09/09/17 08:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,831
Texas
WyrTwister Offline
WyrTwister  Offline
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,831
Texas
Originally Posted By: i_hate_autofraud


There's a Drive-in near me, so that's good but the land is worth more then it brings in with admissions! Sad!

Many late model GMs won't let you keep the radio on with accessory power. You have to turn the ignition key every
15 minutes as it "times out" So I brought a separate radio for the movie audio on the FM band!


Yes , you are correct . But around here , you either leave the engine idling to run the A/C or the heat . Roll the windows down & get a car full of flying " guests " . :-(


Wyr
God bless
Re: Drive-In Movie Theater; do-able anymore? [Re: LoneRanger] #4511847
09/09/17 08:45 PM
09/09/17 08:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,831
Texas
WyrTwister Offline
WyrTwister  Offline
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,831
Texas
An Aunt & Uncle of mine ( both pasted on now ) bought the Drive in in their little town , about an hour from here .

Before TV , theaters were very profitable . TV took a large bite out of that .

Then with the continued march of technology , came VHS and movie rental stores .

Wife and I picked up a DVD at Red Box , at Wally World , this afternoon .

I mostly watch movies on the PC .


Wyr
God bless
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