Twin Falls drive-ins’ future looks bleak

The Twin Falls (ID) Times-News ran a fairly pessimistic piece this week about the drive-ins in that town. The Motor-Vu and Grand-Vu will open this spring, but they have no plans to make the switch to digital projection. When Hollywood stops sending film, they’ll just shut down.

Both drive-ins are owned by Interstate Amusement, which has a web site that mentions the other theaters in town but not the drive-ins. Maybe they’ll add something once they reopen? The Times-News article quotes Larry Roper, which it says is Interstate Amusement’s managing director, although last summer’s Times-News video, embedded above, says he’s the owner. Anyway, Roper sounds pretty glum about the future of drive-ins in general. “If we cannot get some kind of solution to the end of the 35-mm film or a way to put digital into the drive-ins, they all will be closing,” he said.

Wow! I hope that Roper is just so busy running all those theaters so that he hasn’t noticed that several drive-ins have already converted to digital, and many more have indicated that they’ll convert this season. For just one example, the Star Drive-In of Montrose CO recently announced on its Facebook page that it will convert even as its fundraising efforts continue.

At least the Motor-Vu’s Facebook page is more optimistic, posting “We have to upgrade to Digital which will cost upwards of $100,000.” And the Motor-Vu’s fans have already chimed in, talking about raising the money. (Strangely, I can’t find any web site for the Grand-Vu. If you know of one, post a comment here and I’ll add the link.) So let’s hope the Times-News just caught Roper on a bad day, and the good folks of Twin Falls find a way to keep their drive-in(s) for decades to come.