The efforts to keep the Auto Vue Drive-In near Colville from going the way of the dinosaur have been rewarded.
According to owner Steve Wisner, he has recently purchased a digital, 65-foot wide movie screen from the now closed Park In Drive-In at Soap Lake.
“This is really exciting, and I want to thank the lady who tipped me off about the screen,” said Wisner last Friday.
Last summer, Wisner was looking at the possibility of closing the Auto Vue because of the film industry’s transition to digital, and the high costs associated with changing over his equipment, which included the screen and projector.
Wisner had already taken out a loan to upgrade the Alpine Theater, the traditional cinema he owns in Colville, from old-school film to state-of-the-art digital.
Digital or nothing at all - no more film
And he wasn’t the only one. Drive-ins and small town movie theaters around the nation face the same dilemma, since the film industry has phased out sending film to theaters.
So it’s either go digital or go nowhere for many mom and pop theaters.
But after the expense of converting his theater equipment, Wisner said he simply couldn’t borrow the $186,000 it would take to modernize the Auto Vue’s projection system as well as replace its dangerously frail screen, which was built from cedar.
*To read the full story, see the 1-29-14 edition of the S-E.