In an effort to differentiate its members from the many so-called pop-up drive-ins that have been a big part of the pandemic movie scene, the United Drive-In Theatre Association has launched a website to define what theatres it says qualify as authentic drive-ins. On the website the association has posted a list of the qualifications and standards that have been created by the UDITOA to ensure that their guests will receive a genuine and authentic drive-in experience.
According to that definition, an authentic drive-in theatre is a permanently constructed commercial motion picture drive-in theatre of which the main purpose of the property is the outdoor exhibition of motion pictures for patrons in vehicles using professional Digital Cinema Initiative compliant digital projectors or 35mm or 70mm film.
Authentic Drive-In screens are larger than life, as large as a massive 120 feet wide and are permanent structures constructed with steel, wood, or concrete and are permanent structures. Authentic drive-Ins featuring multiple screens will include at least one permanent screen anchored into the ground which meets the above standards.
Many authentic drive-In theatres are genuine historical landmarks which have been in operation for as long as the 1930s and have been lovingly preserved. Other authentic drive-Ins are new builds which have been zoned and built as permanent attractions. All authentic drive-Ins are dedicated to preserving the tradition of the authentic drive-In theatres for generations to come.
Authentic drive-Ins feature:
A permanent large screen, anchored into the ground.
They are carefully designed to provide a dark movie viewing environment with minimal area lighting.
A permanent concession stand, and rest rooms.
Many have a large grassy area in front of the screen for outdoor recreational activities, while others may have a playground.
Many feature lot ramps with raised mounds which vehicles pull onto. The ramps raise the front end of the vehicles slightly, allowing guests a better, unobstructed view of the screen. The curvature and height of the ramps puts the vehicles of the theatre guests into the most desirable position to view the screen.
Because of carefully planned construction and the acres of space, they have excellent sight lines of the screen from your vehicle.
To provide a genuine theatrical experience, they utilize studio mandated DCI compliant digital projectors or 35mm or 70mm film projectors to project the movie image onto a permanent screen and allow showings of first run movies in addition to classics.
They have proper cinema industry sound equipment broadcasting over FM in stereo or classic pole speakers.
An authentic drive-In provides a complete evening worth of entertainment usually featuring a double feature of two movies, in addition to coming attractions, vintage concession ads and more.
In many cases the owner is on-site providing showmanship and ensures the service and experience is second to none.
As for what is not considered an authentic drive-in, the association says that temporary screens set down into an existing parking lot are not considered authentic. Nor is an LED TV screen set in an existing parking lot or stadium because and none of them currently meet studio image requirements for first-run movies. Using Blu-Ray or DVD players with a non-theatrical digital projector are also not authentic drive-In theatres, and do not offer the studio mandated higher quality image required for first run movies.
Authentic Drive-In Theatres www.authenticdriveins.com