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Postmedia - Digital projection may sound death knell for drive-ins

Published: 24 Jun 2011

Like ice cream, camping and baseball, drive-in theatres are a summertime symbol of a carefree childhood for millions of Canadians.

Like ice cream, camping and baseball, drive-in theatres are a summertime symbol of a carefree childhood for millions of Canadians. But with the North American movie industry on the verge of making a money- saving switch from film to digital projection technology, the sun seems ready to set on the big screens under the stars.

Robert Soroka, a professor with McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management, where he teaches retailing, marketing and consumer psychology, considers drive-ins, which began springing up in the U.S. in the early 1930s, to be quaint but antiquated throwbacks to a bygone era.

"Cars and movies were some of the most exciting consumer items back then and drive-ins were a social happening,'' Soroka said. ``People were ready to tolerate the poor quality of the sound and the bugs and the foggy windows because they were buying the excitement.

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