Despite the recent announcement that 35mm film – the film often used by drive-in theaters – would stop being produced at the end of this year, some are managing to survive – including San Antonio’s Mission Drive-in Theater, which is putting the final touches on its renovation.
The $1.4 million project includes not only renovations to the screen and plaza, but efficient LED-lighting instead of the original neon lighting that was used before, according to KENS5.com, a San Antonio news source. The renovations will be officially completed in February.
While the theater once provided cars with speakers to clip onto their windows, now a 30-foot stage is now in front of the screen, and a grassy hill will look onto the large movie screen.
There are other parts of the theater that remind viewers of older times, including a marquee of “a man wearing a sombrero, sitting atop a burro next to another man dozing against a mission wall” that was painted in 1948. But, since this was considered offensive to the Hispanic community, other designs were discussed. As Jimmy LeFlore, the manager of Public Art of San Antonio, told the news source, instead there will be a more “truthful depiction of what the mission looks like today.”
The theater will also be used for events and concerts in the future, helping to bring a new purpose to the once drive-in theater. But this also points out new ways theaters can use their resources to continue their business, especially in warm areas that can benefit from outdoor movies. And even for those event planners or managers, San Antonio’s recent interest in the drive-in theater points out the continued popularity of using outdoor movie screens as entertainment.