Cumberland Drive-In Theatre is an outdoors movie theater located in Newville, Pennsylvania. It is capable of hosting 400 vehicles and has a 45 by 96 foot movie screen. As of August 2013, it has been operated by the same family for over 60 years. Cumberland Drive-In Theatre was opened in by the Mowery family on July 3, 1952 and celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012. The first movie ever shown at Cumberland Drive-In was Annie Get Your Gun.
Digital Versus 35 Millimeter:
In 2013, movie studios announced that they would be switching from 35 millimeter films to digital distribution -exclusively - by the end of the year. The average cost for an outdoor or single-screen theater to convert to digital projection is approximately $75,000.
While digital technology provides a better picture on a smaller screen, the switch to digital does not provide a noticeably better image for drive-in patrons.
As of 2013, Cumberland Drive-In was using the same movie projector it used in 1952. The only major change is that in 2003 the lamp houses were changed from carbon arc lamp to powerful light bulbs.
Ticket sales do not generate large sums of money for drive-in theaters such as the Cumberland Drive-In. Film companies claim most of the ticket price. Concession sales (food and drink) are the main source of profit for the Cumberland (and for most theaters). In addition, many drive-ins (such as the Cumberland) are only open in late spring and in summer. It may take 10-15 years for smaller drive-in theaters to pay for the new equipment. In order to survive, the theater competed for one of five digital projectors being donated by Honda as part of Project Drive-In.