More Illinois theaters turn to Kickstarter

Snack cart at the Harvest MoonFrom The News-Gazette of central Illinois comes word that two other Illinois theaters have also turned to Kickstarter to try to raise money for the digital conversion. In addition to the Midway, which we covered a few days ago, the Harvest Moon (Gibson City IL) and the indoor Onarga Theater (Onarga IL) have started these campaigns to get the new equipment to keep showing movies next year.

And mentioning that indoor cinema brings us around to the wider scope of the conversion issue. One article suggests that next year the US may lose 20% of its movie theaters, mostly in small towns. That’s worse for drive-ins; I would be surprised if there are even two-thirds as many drive-ins operating in July 2013 as there were in July 2012. The final result may be half, or worse.

If you want your nearby drive-ins to survive, see if they’re trying to raise money. It could be Kickstarter, or it could be different, such as Save the Star (Montrose CO). If so, donate to keep them alive. This spring, you don’t want to be surprised by a dead drive-in.

Two south Florida drive-ins stay popular

View from the bridge on Lake Ave, Lake WorthTired of all the digital conversion articles? Then you’ll love this piece from the Sun Sentinel, which is a classic example of the “Hey, we still have some drive-ins around, and they are so cool” kind of article. Not one word about that 2013 thing.

There’s a photo of the Swap Shop (Lake Worth) with an amazing amount of background light; can those folks really see the movie? Just to make things confusing, the other drive-in is also called the Swap Shop, but it’s in Lauderhill (according to the article) or Fort Lauderdale (according to Google Maps and Drive-Ins.com). The Google Maps link shows the Swap Shop in its midday flea market glory, but check all those long-shadowed screens at the perimeter. Turns out that there are 14 screens at that one location!

Be sure and check out the photo gallery that accompanies the article.

Manitoba drive-ins raising money for conversion

Big Island Drive-InThe Winnipeg Free Press ran an article over the weekend about two drive-ins in Manitoba that are struggling to find the cash to buy digital projection equipment. The Stardust (Morden) and Shamrock (Killarney) both face an uncertain future as they go into the off-season without the right stuff to reopen in the spring. And it suggests that the Big Island (Flin Flon) just isn’t coming back next year.

The article includes a couple of okay photos, but it excels in its quotes from the business people facing the odd situation of asking the community to donate so they can continue to make a profit. (Hey, it works all the time when pro sports teams need a new stadium. But I digress.)

“Meanwhile, the sign where movie titles normally go outside the Shamrock theatre now reads, ‘Closed Until Digital.'” Check it out.

photo by: noricum