Over the last several weeks, the folks at Honda have been busy working to keep a cornerstone of American culture alive. At the end of 2013, the vast majority of American drive-in theaters will be on the chopping block as the film industry transitions fully to digital projection following the end of the distribution of 35 mm film. There are currently only 368 drive-ins remaining in America and odds are good that most of them will go dark forever by the end of the year unless something is done.
Project Drive-In was launched by Honda’s marketing team to raise money and awareness for the drive-in theaters that face closure in the coming year due to the prohibitive $85,000 fee required to upgrade from 35 mm to digital film projectors. Given the gradually flagging interest in drive-ins, an investment of this caliber is simply impossible for many venues.
The first phase of the campaign saw the public vote on their personal favorite drive-ins. The top five in numbers of popular votes won free digital projectors. The latest phase of the campaign is occurring on social crowdsourcing website Indiegogo. Honda is using this site to try to raise $100,000 for the drive-in that won the next highest number of popular votes. This funding opportunity will remain open until October 7. Assuming that the $100,000 target is reached, the meter will simply reset and the process will begin once more for the next theater in line. Currently, the campaign has raised just under $47,000 of its goal. In addition, a 2014 Odyssey, Honda’s popular minivan, will be donated and sold for $50,000 with all proceeds donated to the campaign, as well.
The campaign initially planned on saving five theaters, but its unexpected success has led to Honda providing digital projection facilities to a full nine theaters. The theaters that are ultimately saved by the campaign will all have the opportunity to host special premiere screenings of the new animated children’s movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. Although the campaign won’t be able to save every theater, it’s great to see such a mainstay of American culture preserved for a while longer.