This is a fun announcement for the exhibition industry in the lead-up to next week’s CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas. Cinedigm and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) say that the company will help more than 100 drive-in movie theatres make the transition from 35 mm celluloid to digital projection. It will work with NATO’s Cinema Buying Group (CBG), which helps independent theater owners. “Cinedigm and NATO’s collaborative efforts – similar to our CBG program for traditional movie theatres — have once again played a significant role in bringing these theatres into the digital age,” says NATO chief John Fithian. For the digital projection to work in drive-ins, the groups needed to team up with the United Drive-In Theater Owners Association and secure some exceptions to the Digital Cinema Initiatives specifications for the technology. It means that “the unique movie-going experience outdoor exhibitors offer will continue for generations to come,” says UDITOA President John Vincent Jr. Cinedigm says it hopes to sign additional drive in theaters next week to preserve what VP Business Affairs Alison Choppelas calls “such an important piece of Americana.”
Cinedigm and the National Association of Theatre Owners announced today that they will make their digital theatre conversion program available to owners of drive-in movie theaters. NATO and Cinedigm have agreed to extend an existing program that uses so-called “virtual print fees,” paid by studios, to finance the deployment of digital projectors. “Traditional movie theaters across the nation have embraced the many benefits of digital cinema,” John Fithian, president of NATO, said today in a statement. “Cinedigm and NATO’s collaborative efforts have played a significant role in that transition and we are thrilled to partner with Cinedigm again to bring drive-ins into the digital age.” The trade group and Cinedigm say they will unveil the agreement at the annual United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association (UDITOA) convention this week in Kissimmee, Florida. Cinedigm has assisted more than 276 theater operators with at least 12,200 digital screens in the U.S. and Canada.