The drive-in movie business is a romantic endeavor to say the least. The thought of a drive-in movie may bring back fond memories of watching what is now film history on those hot summer nights. Drive-in movies peaked in the 1950s with nearly 4,000 theaters dotting the American landscape; now there are under 400. But according to the United Drive-In Theaters Association, there is evidence of a renewed interest in drive-in movies, with new theaters being constructed and old ones refurbished.
Drive-in theaters in America are a good business, but a big undertaking. Investors must carefully consider all the first steps, including finding up to 14 acres of land far away from competing screens and taking the pulse of the community (some may not want a drive-in theater due to traffic concerns and the belief that drive-ins are "passion pits.") Then concentrate on the business plan and financing of the venture.
Here are some considerations for drive-in movie theaters. Basics include the following:
1. Focus on providing a family-friendly environment, with strong concession sales.
2. Make sure the drive-in theater is properly sited so moviegoers can get the best views.
3. Invest in equipment that will provide good sound and a bright picture.
Understand the draw of drive-in theater nostalgiaYou simply can't run a drive-in without first looking at where outdoor movie theaters came from. Understanding the history of drive-ins, what worked and what didn't will help you draw upon the past to establish a drive-in movie theater that will attract visitors from miles away.
Research the market for competition for drive-in moviesIf you're going to open a drive-in, you need to know who the competition is. Plan your drive-in at a location that is far enough away from other local drive-in movie theaters and large multiplex theaters, as well as in an area that does not have distracting city lights.
Think ahead when planning the site and buying drive-in movie equipmentA successful drive-in movie theater will start with a correct site plan, most times requiring intensive excavation to make ramps for all cars to see the movie screens. When you're planning your venture, also take into account the drive-in movie theater equipment you'll need to run a successful business.
- Make sure you look at local zoning ordinances when researching outdoor movie theatres. The zoning board can make your dream a reality if you work with them.