ABSTRACT. At their peak, in the 1950s, nearly 4,500 drive-in theatres existed in the United States. Rivaled by around 5,500 indoor cinemas today, only 319 drive-ins remain. I contrast how the nature of the audience itself has altered the use of space in drive-in theatres from family viewing environments in the early years to “passion pits” in the 1950s and 1960s, and back to family viewing in more recent decades. Technological changes in projection and sound equipment have also altered the experience of attending drive-in cinemas. In recent years, the costs of transitioning to digital projection have forced many drive-in cinemas out of the industry.
JEL codes: L10; L25; L82

Keywords: technological change; drive-in theatres

How to cite: Fox, Mark A. (2018). “Drive-in Theatres, Technology, and Cultural Change,” Economics, Management, and Financial Markets 13(2): 24–39.

Received 27 March 2017 • Received in revised form 14 July 2017
Accepted 15 July 2017 • Available online 5 August 2017


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