Drive-In Theaters: How Many Are Left? Should They Make a Comeback? 1

Drive-In Theaters: How Many Are Left? Should They Make a Comeback?

There are not enough drive-in movie theaters anymore. We are lucky in Tennessee because we have 13 open locations, but I feel like they are a dying breed. There are only 321 drive-in movie theaters left in the U.S. today. Getting to experience a drive-in movie is an awesome thing. It’s relaxing, it’s great for the kids, and you don’t have to worry about proximity to your neighbors because you’re in your own car.

Drive-In Theaters: How Many Are Left? Should They Make a Comeback? 2

The History

The history of drive in movie theaters is actually very fascinating! On June 6, 1933 Richard Hollingshead (an auto-parts salesman) opened the first theater in Camden, N.J. People paid 25 cents per car as well as per person to see the British comedy Wives Beware under the stars. The concept of a drive in movie theater didn’t really take off until the 50s, after the invention of in-car speakers in the 40s. By 1958, the number of drive-ins peaked at 4,063.


Unfortunately, because drive-ins could only show a few movies a night and as the price of land increased, many drive-ins folded. The movie studios would send their movies to indoor theaters first and the drive-in’s were left to show B movies.


Drive-Ins Today

This isn’t necessarily true now. Drive-ins that are left show movies as soon as they’re released just like their indoor counterparts. It’s definitely something that I would love to see grow within the states. With so little undeveloped land left, it doesn’t seem that it’s going to happen anytime soon.


There are different concepts being developed around the states that are trying to give people the drive-in experience. They’re trying out different concepts without having to actually meet the all the requirements that are needed to run a successful drive-in.


My favorite concept so far is actually being introduced in the Nashville area. The concept is an indoor drive-in. The place is called August Moon Drive-In. According to the website will include, “40 real classic cars, dozens of full size trees, grass, gravel pathways, a panoramic starry sky overhead, fireflies, and, of course, a stunning August “sailor’s moon” glowing orange and red, just above the treeline.” They will also have luxury seating which includes couches in private booths, tree swings and wide-aisle stadium seats.

If this venture is successful in Nashville, I hope to see more theaters like it around the U.S. There really is nothing like seeing a movie under the stars!

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