Votes have been cast, and the wait is over.
The Monetta Drive-In Theatre – also known as the Big Mo – was declared a winner on Monday in the second round of Honda's Project Drive-In contest.
Across the nation, drive-in theaters have been upgrading their 35 mm film equipment to digital projectors.
Digital projectors can cost around $70,000 to $80,000, said Monetta Drive-In co-owner Lisa Boaz.
Due to being a winner in Honda's contest, the Monetta Drive-In is now one of nine theaters that will receive digital projector.
The Big Mo got this win through votes via text and online.
“We would like to say thank you to everyone who voted for us,” Boaz said. “It means a lot to us that people care, (and) it's very exciting.”
More than two million votes were cast for the nine winning theaters, according to a press release from Honda.
The contest occurred in two waves – one that ran until Sept. 9 and awarded projectors to five theaters and this wave that awarded projectors to four theaters.
The Monetta Drive-In Theatre has three screens that need converting.
Boaz said she and her husband Richard had saved money before the contest to prepare for this conversion.
“If we won one projector, we would have some money left over to put back into improvements that will benefit the customers,” Boaz said to the Aiken Standard in late August.
In addition to converting the screens, the owners would have to upgrade the rooms in which the projectors would go.
“The old projectors could take the extreme heat and extreme cold,” Boaz said, in regards to one way the rooms would have to be changed.
Lately, the Big Mo has opened up only two fields to the public.
Part of this is due to the fact the theater is still using 35 mm film.
“A lot of theaters have converted,” Boaz said.
And Project Drive-In is not done.
“This fundraising effort will continue through the end of the year in hopes of raising further money to support more digital conversions,” as stated in the Honda release.
As for the Big Mo, the Boazs plan on keeping at least one 35 mm projector around on which to show old commercials and trailers.
“It would add to the retro feel of the drive-in,” Lisa said.
For more information on the project, visit www.projectdrivein.com.
For more information on the Big Mo, visit www.thebigmo.com.
Aiken Standard file photo Richard Boaz inside one of the screening rooms at the Big Mo. Converting to digital projectors will mean these rooms will have to be upgraded, too.×
Aiken Standard file photo Richard Boaz announces the night's films from the Main Screen booth. Beside him is a 35 mm film reel. The Big Mo was declared a winner on Monday in the second round of Honda's Project Drive-In contest.×
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