The Skyline Drive-In Theater (aha! someone else who spells it -ter) in Shelton WA is the latest drive-in to turn to Kickstarter to raise funds for its conversion to digital projection. As that page describes it:
“Small theaters all over the country are left to fight over the few 35mm prints that are currently being made.The drive-in theater, seen by many as little more than a fossil of movie-going history, is last in line for new movies.The only way to change that is to convert to digital projectors.”
As of this writing, the Skyline has raised less than $9,000 of its $40,000 goal, with a deadline of May 12. If they get enough cash, they also say that they’ll restore its neon sign to its “original 1964 glory”. If you’ve ever been to the Skyline, this would be a good time to show your support.
Update: The Olympian of Olympia WA ran a story about the Skyline’s Kickstarter project. It includes a little more information and a pair of nice photos. Check it out!
Although it’s sad that we’ll lose the Auto-Vue, there’s some good news from the other side of the state of Washington. The Blue Fox Drive-In (Oak Harbor WA) has already switched to digital projection and has reopened for its 2013 season.
The Whidbey News-Times ran a nice article about the transition. Darrell Bratt, owner of the Blue Fox, said his fundraising efforts had netted about 80% of the cost of the new projector. He borrowed the rest to get it installed over the holiday break, but he’s continuing to sell glow-in-the-dark T-shirts to pay off the debt. It’s great to find good news like this!
The owner of the Auto-Vue Drive-In in Colville WA told the Spokane Spokesman that 2013 will be its final season. Because of the digital projection conversion it would require to continue, the Auto-Vue will close for good after Labor Day weekend.
Steve Wisner said the Auto-Vue is still profitable, but it would take over $170,000 in improvements to the projector and screen to show digital movies. “Technology has just drove us out,” he said. “We’d have to upgrade to new digital and we cannot afford it.”
Wisner also owns the indoor Alpine Theater in Colville, and has upgraded that theater for digital projection. But the drive-in land will set idle; Wisner said he might use it to grow hops. For more, including some nice quotes from the head of the United Drive-In Theater Owners Association, go check out the full story in The Spokesman.