Will technology drive some Movie Theaters and Drive-Ins out to pasture?

I went with my husband to the Regal Theater to see the movie “Pixels” over the weekend.  On the way into the movie theater we noticed a large sign letting patrons know about the Sony Entertainment Adaptive technology that was available if requested. The technology caters for the hearing impaired and people with poor vision or who are blind. I had never seen this sign before and thought it was about time the disadvantaged could enjoy a good movie by using these adaptive tools. Not all of the movies have the capabilities though, so before you get your tickets, make sure to select films offering this service, showtimes will note: “Accessibility Devices Available.”

These tools include specially designed lightweight eyewear for moviegoers who are deaf or hard of hearing to privately view closed captioned text directly in their line of sight for both 2D and 3D movies. This assistive technology can accommodate headphones or neck loops connected to the wireless receiver to hear descriptive audio tracks for patrons who have low vision or those who are blind.

As technology evolves it affects others besides computer users. Many small $1.00 theaters that I often frequented have closed due to not being able to keep up with the equipment necessary to run the movies. People just want and expect perfection, clearer pictures, better sound…We love to go to the movies, but often what keeps us away is how pricey it is. That is why we enjoy the independently owned Drive-Ins or matinees, or cheaper movie offerings.

We are fortunate to still have Drive-In movies in our local area. There used to be thousands of them spotted across the country. Now I hear there are only hundreds. How sad to lose such a piece of nostalgia. We were at a Drive-In recently and they too had a sign but this sign indicated they would be closing after the current season due to not having the right equipment nor the resources to upgrade so they could continue showing movies. Unlike the Regal Cinema, Adaptive Technology was not something they offered. This particular Drive-In is not a chain but an independently owned theater where patrons can come and watch double features while their kids play in the playground. You can feel the nostalgia as you drive into the Drive-In to park. Their film projector is from the 1950’s, but it is a much different experience from that of a movie theater. You see many of the older Drive-Ins still projecting film on the big screens. However, more movie companies are only producing Digital Technology because they can save a billion dollars a year by not producing movies both on film and digital drives.

Locally, we had an historic old theater that was recently forced to close. The architecture was amazing, with crushed velvet seats and mega high ceilings, the theater itself was magnificent and you felt transported back in time when you stepped foot into it.

There is something to be said about going to the Drive-In, clamping that gray metal speaker box onto your car window and watching the film flicker. Now, for the theaters which have upgraded their audio system, sound is broadcast over your FM radio.

What are some of your favorite movie memories?

Are you strictly a Netflix, Hulu Plus or TV watcher?


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