In the next few months, Hollywood will stop making the celluloid prints that work on regular 35 mm projectors in favor of digital projection methods. This is an easy switch for most indoor theater chains, many of which have already upgraded, but for drive-in theaters the cost of switching, up to $80,000 per screen, is too much for the small businesses to handle. In order to fight the loss of what few drive-in locations are left, Honda is launching a campaign to raise money and awareness for this beloved American pastime.
A main part of Honda’s campaign is to draw attention to the problems that drive-ins will face as they struggle to keep up with the changing technology. However, the project isn’t just about awareness, Honda is also working to raise money for drive-ins nationwide that are in need of help.
On their website, www.projectdrivein.com, Honda is giving consumers a month to vote for 5 drive-ins that they think deserve the gift of a brand-new digital projector courtesy of Honda. The winning theaters, which will be revealed in September, will host special showings of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” in celebration.
At the industry’s peak, post-WWII, 25% of movie screens in America were at drive-ins, now that number has shrunk to 1.5%. Alicia Jones, manager of Honda and Acura social marketing at Honda Motor Co. says, “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.”
In addition to the donated projectors, Honda is encouraging people to contribute their own money to the Project Drive-In Fund as well as pledge to visit the closest drive-in before the season is over. People can use the hashtag #SaveTheDriveIn to pledge their intent to visit a drive-in, declare their support of the project, or to spread the word about their favorite local drive-in. Honda is also creating pop-up efforts at many of it’s dealerships across the country in order to further promote the project.
With the help of people all throughout America, Honda is hoping to save this great part of our culture by using new technologies, online pledges and social media promotion.