Honda on the Move to Help Save Drive-In Theaters

Honda on the Move to Help

Automaker's 'Project Drive-In' to donate digital projectors to five theaters facing closure as part of its 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2' promo

With hundreds of drive-in theaters expected to close at the end of the year once studios stop distributing 35mm film prints, Honda is backing a national effort to save the screens built around car culture.

“Project Drive-In,” sponsored by Honda, aims to save as many drive-ins as possible that haven’t been able to make the switch to digital projection, and will supply at least five drive-in theaters with the projectors.

Individuals can vote to determine which theaters will receive the projectors at

Voting began Aug. 9 and ends on Sept. 9.

The five winning theaters will be revealed shortly after that, with each theater hosting a special screening of Sony Pictures Animation’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” out Sept. 27.

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, manager of Honda and Acura Social Marketing at American Honda Motor Co. “We’re committed to helping the remaining drive-in theaters flourish with the move to digital projection.”

The first drive-ins opened in 1933 and reached their peak during the 1950s and 1960s, when there were more than 4,000 theaters across the country.

The National Assn of Theater Owners has been helping drive-ins make the transition to digital. As of mid-July, around 40% have made the switch, but the cost of the digital projectors, estimated at more than $75,000 per screen, has kept others from buying them.

On the “Project Drive-In” site, Honda will also host an online auction that features tickets to the Los Angeles premiere of the “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” premiere, as well as additional film-related merchandise.

Honda will also launch pop-up drive-ins at Honda dealerships across the country to help raise awareness, with free screenings of the animated sequel. Honda operates a network of more than 1,000 dealerships in the United States.

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  1. Sarah says:

    This is a wonderful project, but remember it isn’t just Drive-in theaters that are effected by this digital conversion. Small art house and independently owned cinemas are also in huge trouble. The conversion has taken a large toll. In the past 2 years, San Francisco has lost a dozen screens due to the high cost of digital projection upgrades.

  2. Linda says:

    I love the old drive-ins much better than the new movie theaters, less noise and more privacy to watch the movie. Hoping they will keep the last few remaining ones open forever…

  3. Dana says:

    I don’t think that the link is working properly?

  4. Dustin says:

    The Winchester drive in here in OKC is still going strong after it was hit by the May tornado and is expected to re open in a week, There is strong support for it from the entire city. Showing that people still love to come to the drive in for an amazing experience. I think it’s wonderful what Honda is doing and more drive in’s should be opening if run correctly.

  5. Walleee says:

    I find it a bit strange its HONDA that has taken up this valiant cause … During the Drive In’s heyday there were exactly zero Hondas parked next to those speakers – where’s the support from the likes of Buick, Ford, Chrysler, etc.,etc,.etc … those rolling “living rooms” with back seats large enough to PARK a Honda — NASH had a model that converted the seats into one huge bed !
    Honda is certainly to be commended for their support – (THANK YOU !) – on one hand , but, with their profits this year on track to hit record levels in the billions — I mean, really, they could BUY all of the remaining Drive Ins and it would be little more than a footnote in their annual report.
    On the other hand Honda is probably thinking the same thing I am : where’s the support from all those American Marques who FILLED those Drive Ins ?

  6. Terri says:

    I’m all in. We have a GREAT old-school marquis for a drive-in in Commerce Township, MI. The property is for sale and I would love to see the sign saved and used in the township if nothing else. Where do I sign up to save my little township’s drive-in??

  7. Paul Lane says:

    You would think the studios would foot the bill, since it their product that is seen.

  8. Walleee says:

    We must save the few iconic driveIns that are left …
    It’s where half my generation lost it’s virginity … The other half”s mothers wouldn’t let their daughters go to one … And to this day they wish they were there

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