Franklin Drive-In Theatre Asking For Community's Help

By: Kristin Martin
By: Kristin Martin

From those who grew up going to the drive-in theater...

"I grew up with a drive-in there in Bowling Green," said Tina Price, owner of the Franklin Drive-In Theatre.

To those who just started going...

"I've been to a drive-in three times. She's been twice," said Jacob Embry, who was there with his wife and son.

They agree the Franklin Drive-In Theatre has a big role in the community.

"If this drive-in closed down, I honestly don't know what we'd do for a date night," said Brittney Bellamy, who has been going to the drive-in for five years with her boyfriend.

But movie studios will be switching from 35mm film to digital projection soon.

Gary Price, also an owner of the Franklin Drive-In, said it's a convenient change -- smaller, easy-to-use equipment -- but a forced high price to pay.

"The price tag is at least $75,000 for each screen that you want to convert," he said.

A lot of the more than 350 drive-ins in the U.S. may have to shut down because of it.

"They're already extinct," said Ronnie Brewer, there with his wife on Friday night.

As for the Franklin Drive-In, it won't close.

"It will take years to pay back the projector. A little bit at a time," Gary said.

There's too much appeal.

"You can go to the movies any place, but if you want to make memories, you come to the drive-in," Gary said.

"It's cheaper and I like the atmosphere better," Bellamy also said.

"It's nice not to be cramped up in a theater," Embry said.

If the words don't show it, the numbers do. Price said they've had a full 500-car lots several times this season.

"People drive a long way just to come here," said Brewer, who drove from Nashville to watch a movie.

Gary said if those people came together in a different way, it could make the upgrade easier for them.

"Honda is putting together a promotion. They say cars and drive-ins go together," he said.

Honda will give five projectors to the theaters with the most votes.

"But it is nationwide, so we're going to be competing against all those that are open year round, have larger population, so that's why we're asking everyone to get out and hustle and vote for us," Gary said.

The contest runs through September 9 and you can vote daily.

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