Drive-in theaters may close if they don't pay big bucks to go digital

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Hollywood used to rely on more than 4,000 drive-in theaters across the country. In 2012, that number is now only 367. 

The news is not getting better for the originally outdoor movie experience.

This could be the last year for movies at many drive-in theaters. Hollywood is threatening to stop providing movies on 35mm film in 2013.

This will force many drive-in theaters to convert to digital, which can cost at least $75,000 per screen.

That cost doesn't include upgrading other equipment needed to use a new system which includes a hard drive instead of film reel.

Missouri used to have 131 drive-in theaters. Today that number is only 12.

Kansas started with 99 and is down to only 7.

Daryl Smith, the owner of the I-70 drive-in theater, said that he can't afford the $75,000 price tag of going digital.

"That's a sizable amount of money, and I'm a little guy," he explained. "I just don't have that handy."

To learn more about the drive-in theaters in Missouri, Kansas or around the country, go to www.drive-ins.com .

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