NEWBERG, Ore. (KOIN) — The 99W Drive-In movie theater in Newberg — one of only four remaining drive-in theaters in the state of Oregon — was set to shut down by the end of this year.
And now, the owners have learned they’ll stay in business — as one of five drive-in recipients of a digital projector through Honda’s Project Drive-In. The 99W Drive-In needed a new digital projector; otherwise, when the studios stop distributing 35-millimeter film prints later this year, it would have no way to show the new films.
Winners of the projectors were selected through ProjectDrive-In.com. The website asked voters to decide which theaters would get help “upgrading to digital projection.” That process costs a theater roughly $80,000, according to ProjectDrive-In.com.
As of press time, more than 2 million votes were submitted.
“I was totally surprised today to find out that we were the fifth drive-in to win the last of the first five projectors that were awarded out through Project Drive-In,” 99W Drive-In Owner Brian Francis told KOIN 6 News at a celebration party Sunday night. The 99W Drive-In is at 3110 Portland Road in Newberg, Ore.
As it turned out, Francis said, “We had the most votes.”
Meanwhile, the Project Drive-In digital projector giveaway appears to have been extended. Four more projectors are now being given out, through voting, to drive-in theaters nationwide. The following Pacific Northwest theaters are included: Motor Vu Drive-In Dallas Ore.; Wheel-In Motor Movie Drive-In in Port Townsend, Wash.; and the Auto-Vue Drive-In in Colville, Wash. Winners of the four additional projects will be announced Sept. 23.
Francis said his theater plans to keep at least one of its 35-millimeter projectors to continue showing vintage “snack bar films.”