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Case Title:

Drive-in Theaters in the US – On the comeback trail?

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Bharathi S Gopal

Industry: Entertainment

Region:USA

Case Code: INA0055B

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Abstract:

Once considered obsolete, drive-in theaters in the US are seen as a family-friendly alternative to multiplexes and other forms of commercialised entertainment. Once at the brink of extinction in the 1980s, drive-in theaters were on the path of revival. They reached their peak in the 1950s. With the advent of the cable TV and VCR coupled with the rising costs of real estate and a growing reputation of drive-ins as ‘passion pits’, the popularity of the drive-ins declined in the 1970s and 80s. The 1990s saw new flickering of life in the industry. Since 1990, about 40 new drive-ins sprung up, and 20 existing ones added new screens. By 2005, about 400 were in operation.

However, the greatest threat seemed to be the US Government’s decision to extend daylight savings time by a month each year as part of a sweeping new energy plan, which would mean pushing the clock forward by an hour. From 2007, 48 US states would turn their clocks forward one hour in March, instead of April, and turn back in November instead of October. This would force families to head to a multiplex rather than keep their children awake for an extra hour. This would mean a huge loss for drive-in theaters. Does this spell doom to the drive-in theaters?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss how drive-in theaters in the US can be an alternative for multiplexes and other entertainments
  • To understand the role of US government in the success of drive-in theaters.

Keywords : Drive-in theatre; Movie; Baby Boom; Industry Analysis Case Study; Films; Daylight saving Time; Camden; RCA; Concession Stand; AM/FM; Attendence; ticket Frequency; Family; Comeback Intermission ads

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