Drive-In theater start-up questions

posted by Jsitterud on January 21, 2009 at 7:40 am

Hey I’m new to Cinema Treasures and I need to see if anyone can help me out or point me to some good resources? I’m trying to construct and open a drive-in movie theater and I need some assistance finding start-up costs.

Mainly I need help with projectors and screens. Projectors: Where can I find projectors for purchase, which projector will I need, go with digital or not, and cost to expect? Screens: Can used screens be purchased and relocated, are there plans for screen construction somewhere, best way to build a quality screen while keeping cost as low as possible?

Any help, suggested resources, or mention of possible hidden costs will be extremely helpful.


Comments (22)

KenLayton on January 21, 2009 at 8:39 am

Jump to the forums at and read everything there.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on January 21, 2009 at 9:18 am

there aresome drive in web sites also

cahammoaz on January 21, 2009 at 10:14 am

contact me for i have info that WILL help in your dream

Chris Hammontree

Kingman,Az 86409

markp on January 21, 2009 at 10:50 am

A buddy of mine has 2 century JJ2 35/70MM projectors he wants to sell. Dont know for how much. Best bet is to go with dual projectors, 6000 foot reels and changeovers, rather than a platter system. Just my opinion, since thats what I prefer.

KenLayton on January 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Zoning-zoning-zoning. If you can’t get proper zoning first you’re screwed.

Jsitterud on January 23, 2009 at 1:12 am

Hey thanks for your comments! Chris I’ll for sure be contacting you for more info.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 23, 2009 at 10:44 am

You may even find things at drive

cahammoaz on January 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm


i am home most weekends and shall be this one.

again and email


Chris Hammontree

nofubars on February 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm

hi Jesse
we used to run the gainsville drive in and the playtime time drive in Jacksonville. we are in the process of trying to obtain the now closed Ocala drive in. we have everything you need, including the tech to help set up the projectors etc.
please feel free to call 904-781-9229 and we will be more than happy to help in any way we can and answer any questions you may have.
Karen Hamrick and Troy Powell

nofubars on February 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm

our opinion dont go go digital, film is better. screens can be purchased used if you get to them on time. if you want a used screen i know where there are 3, if you call me at 904-781-9229 i will give you a name and contact number. we dont want to move or store all the equipment we have. we have 3 extra complete projector systems with updates you dont usually find when you buy them. the systems include the lamphouses, projectors, platters, xeon bulbs and a lens that will best suit or needs. also if you purchase a system Troy who is a certified tech will personally deliver it and set everything up for you.

nofubars on February 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm

we will also include a make up table if you buy a system. you cant beat our price anywhere.

DigitalMasta on May 24, 2010 at 1:11 am


YOU’LL BE ABLE TO USE BRIGHTER LIGHTS! Film projectors have to use dimmer light bulbs because brighter ones will burn through the film! You’ll want the brightest light bulbs available.

YOU’LL HAVE A STEADY SHOT ON THE SCREEN WITH DIGITAL! No shaky pictures from a mechanical film projector. The screen is an easy solution, it’s a wall with white paint.

I don’t know why people would tell you not to go digital. Oh that’s right, because they want to sell you their old CRAP!

DigitalMasta on May 24, 2010 at 2:13 am

Oh and I forgot to mention…


So with a digital projector you get better definition, brighter bulbs, and less shaky pictures. How can you beat that?

Forget these people that are like uhhhhhhh buy our old crap off us! LOL! Ridiculous! If you’re going to do it, do it right.

And while you’re at it, get a mobile inflatable screen so you can set up anywhere! Fair grounds, parking lots, deserted places. You can rent out your equipment to businesses or fairs and other events or anyone that needs a screen! A big wooden structure doesn’t go anywhere!

Good Luck!

Applegate on July 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Hi! I am president of a parent group in a rural area. We have a field where we have an annual car show and would like to expand and show movies in the spring and summer..we would like to know some of the costs and set up procedures…we are located in Eugene OR..thanks!

agatto2 on April 21, 2013 at 7:03 am

Where does one attempt to get a blow up screen?


kristinstar on April 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Hi there, I was hoping someone could help me… I want to do a DIGITAL drive in theater. I found a projector but suggestions on screens or where to but them? what else do I need and how do I get sound? thanks

dmontenegro on May 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm


We distribute all major brands of digital projectors in the U.S. and globally out of Miami. Please visit our website and feel free to give me a call: 305.232.8182



KatherineIncz on November 18, 2014 at 2:11 am

Have you considered how you are going to broadcast the sound?

Read this article

Piker on July 1, 2015 at 10:09 pm

hey it’s been since 2009 but I’m wondering if that offer to help is still out there?

Roperliz on February 7, 2018 at 9:48 am

Did any of you get a drive in set up?

tmcrbt on June 6, 2018 at 7:16 pm

I am seeking information on starting a new drive in theater. We have access to an old drive in screen, concession stand equipment, and some old signs. We need to move the location though, as the original location is going to be used for other things. We need information on taking down and putting back together the old screen (80'x70'). Cost involved for new foundation and assembly. Projection and sound equipment. We plan on starting with one screen and hopefully expand to two screens. Will 16 acres be enough to make this work? Any ideas, help, suggestions, will be of benefit. Thank you to all who can point us in the right direction.

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