For Amir Landsman and other movie buffs, the recent spate of drive-in closings marks the end of an era in film entertainment. Many drive-in theaters have been forced to close their doors due to outdated equipment and higher operating costs. Even for theaters with high attendance and eager audiences, changes in the ways movies are made and distributed to theaters have created financial challenges too steep for many theater owners to manage.
Digital technologies have made it easier to create seamless special effects and to establish mood and color control during the film editing process. These advances, however, have also altered the way movies are shown in local venues. Digital images are typically much clearer than those produced by standard 35-millimeter film projectors. As a result, film distribution companies are increasingly unwilling to ship 35-millimeter reels to smaller venues. Instead, they are requiring upgrades to digital projection systems that can cost $70,000 or more. Some drive-in theaters have already closed their businesses because of these new equipment requirements. It is likely that many others will be forced to do so in the next few years.
All is not lost, however. For Nyack residents, the Hyde Park Drive-In Theatre in New York continues to deliver an authentic American drive-in experience for couples, families and groups of friends. By supporting these open-air theaters and helping their owners to weather the financial difficulties associated with these required equipment upgrades, communities like Nyack can ensure the longevity of these classic entertainment options for future generations to enjoy.