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Honda tries to save drive-in theaters by donating digital projectors

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Everett Collection /
Everett Collection /

Honda has launched a campaign to help secure the fate of the drive-in movie theater. With 35mm film distribution on the way out, digital projection has been hailed as a potential savior for the theaters, but the equipment and installation makes for a costly transition at around $80,000.

The "Project Drive-In" campaign aims to raise awareness of the threat to drive-ins, saying that hundreds are at risk of closure, and the company will provide at least five theaters across the country with digital projectors. Where exactly the donations go will all come down to an online vote.

"Cars and drive-in theaters go hand-in-hand, and it's our mission to save this decades-old slice of Americana that holds such nostalgia for so many of us," said Alicia Jones, Honda's manager of social marketing. The company has produced a promotional video that portrays the drive-in theater as an inextricable part of American culture. "Drive-ins are as American as baseball and hot dogs," says one interviewee.

"Drive-ins are as American as baseball and hot dogs."

Drive-in fans can go to the campaign website to find theaters near them and cast their vote. Honda will announce the winning theaters in September, and the drive-ins will get back into digital business with special showings of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.