We have some big news for The Big Mo. The last drive in movie theater in the CSRA is going to be around for a long, long time. It's been in Monetta off and on since 1951, but now it will survive into the digital age thanks to a new digital projector from Honda... and your votes.
Hollywood is going digital, which means movie theaters with old, film projectors will have to upgrade. The problem is, these new projectors can be very expensive, and unfortunately, a lot of drive-ins don't make enough money to buy them. But thank to Honda's Project Drive-In, "The Big Mo" is getting one for free.
On Monday morning, Richard Boaz learned his drive-in movie theater, The Big Mo, had won a digital projector.
"Well, I'm thankful, honestly, that my wife answered the phone call because I don't think I could have stayed as composed as she was, and as a matter of fact, I was kind of in the background just... shaking," Boaz says.
That's because the projector costs about $80,000. The movie industry is doing away with 35mm film, which means everything will be digital.
"What they do is, instead of sending the film reels, which you splice together to show the film, it comes on a hard drive, that you then put into the server," Boaz says.
He says he isn't exactly sure when the digital transition is going to happen, but he says he has heard rumors that it could happen by the end of the year.
"My thought is that when one studio makes the change, they are going to fall like dominos and the whole industry will change," Boaz says.
He says he expects more than 100 drive-in movie theaters to close because the cost of upgrading
equipment is just too much. That's why this win is so special to him.
"You know, you see people smiling, you see families together, you see the kids playing together. Families together. You know, old folks together. All ages together enjoying the experience, I mean, that, to me, sounds kind of corny, but it makes it worthwhile to me," Boaz says.
The Big Mo has three screens, so they will need two more projectors for the digital transition. Boaz says he will have to upgrade the projector booths as well, which could cost about $20,000 per booth.
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