Honda Picks Project Drive-In Final Four

By Matt Schmitz  on September 22, 2013

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As the end credits rolled on Honda's Project Drive-In campaign to purchase pricey digital projectors for financially struggling drive-in theaters, four more winners were added to the contest marquee. Online voting at Projectdrivein.com had originally closed Sept. 9 and the five recipients were named the following week, but Honda extended the contest two weeks to include an additional four theaters.

One of the winners in the second round of voting was the Stateline Drive-in in Elizabethton, Tenn.; the outdoor theater opened in 1947, remaining in continual operation since, and is the only movie theater in the town. The Ocala Drive-In, in Ocala, Fla., opened in 1948 and remained in operation until going dark in 2003, reopening eight years later. The family who owns and operates the Ocala is preparing to enter its fifth generation in the film-exhibition business. The other projector recipients are the Monetta Drive-In, or "The Big Mo," in Monetta, S.C., and the Starlite Drive-In in Cadet, Mo.

As Hollywood studios discontinue the distribution of physical film reels, drive-ins are being forced to make the estimated $80,000 digital upgrade most say they can't afford. Project Drive-In's objective is to help preserve this nostalgic piece of Americana that's so closely associated with the nation's car culture. The campaign has garnered 2.6 million online votes for people's favorite drive-ins and nearly $44,000 in contributions.

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