Studios are moving to stop distributing 35-millimeter film prints. Converting to digital is an expense many theaters in the fading drive-in industry can’t afford.
In most of the country, drive-ins close for the winter. Some may not reopen this spring because of the high cost of digital conversion, said John Vincent Jr., the president of the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Assn. He declined to speculate on the number that may close.
None of the eight operating drive-in theaters in Southern California have yet converted to digital.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” Vincent said. He plans to spend $75,000 to convert the drive-in he owns on Cape Cod.