Last Friday, USA Today picked up a story by The Tennessean, which isn’t so strange because they’re both owned by Gannett. Anyway, the story discussed how small Tennessee theaters, especially drive-ins, were approaching digital conversion. To see the most photos, you might want to check both articles if you can; The Tennessean only allows non-paying visitors a few views per month.
It’s a good, long story, so you really should read it, but I’ll give you a quick summary. The Stardust Drive-In (Watertown) has just converted to digital projection. The owner of the Moonlight Drive-In (Woodbury) plans to stick to film “for as long as possible” because “(s)imply put, I can’t afford it.” The owner of the Sparta Drive-In (Sparta) agrees, saying “If I can’t get any more film, I’ll just shut the doors.” Or gates, I suppose. And finally, the Hi-Way 50 Drive-In (Lewiston) closed last year, and its owner said, “With this digital thing coming on, we decided it was a good time to retire.” At least the Stardust is in it for the long haul.
There’s a lot more detail and background in the original article, so go read it!