A longtime family pastime could be facing a troubled ending as a digital conversion could close the curtains on local drive-ins. YNN's Innae Park takes a closer look.
AVERILL PARK, N.Y. -- It's a family-friendly, fun-filled night of flicks at the Hollywood Drive-In in Averill Park. With school out and summer in, the theater, along with the other drive-in theaters in the area, is showing favorites seven nights a week!
Linda Agostine says she grew up watching films at the drive-in and is continuing the tradition with her family, since there is something for all. "There's a movie for the older kid, the later showing, then the early movie is the one the younger kid wants to see," she said.
In spite of the extended hours, it may soon be lights, camera and no action for local drive-ins, as an increasing digital market is forcing businesses to convert to a whole new format.
Hollywood Drive-In owner Frank Fisher says, "In 2013, there's supposedly not going to be any film going to be made. Everything's going digital and lots of drive-ins will have to close. It is possible that such a conversion could close a place down." Fisher says a digital projector would cost about $75,000 alone, and that does not include the price of revamping the projection booth, installing larger windows, heat and air conditioning. As a result, the independent theaters are taking a hit. "Cheaper for them to go to digital, more expensive for us to go digital," said Fisher about the movie distributors.
According to Fisher, even with the perks of digital film, the overall benefit isn't crystal-clear. "The light is supposed to be better five times better, the picture is supposed to be steadier. I have no issues with our system though. 100 years and it works perfect. Every single night, night after night, and it never breaks down," he said.
Despite the changes, he says the experience of a family night at the outdoor movies will remain. "This is where they all come together," said Fisher.
Good news for Hollywood fans, though. Fisher says he is planning on staying open through the digital switch, bearing the cost of conversion. The owners of Jericho Drive-In in Glenmont and the Malta Drive-in say they too are hoping to remain open.