SACO — Drive-in operators are finding creative ways to afford the switch from film to digital.

Operators say more than 200 of the remaining 348 drive-ins in the country have made the expensive conversion. It typically costs $70,000 or more.

Some drive-in operators are attempting to raise money using crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter. Others are renting out their theaters as flea markets during off-hours.

In Maine, the general manager of Saco Drive-In launched a social-media campaign to win an $80,000 digital projection system in a contest sponsored by Honda.

Rustic Drive In in Smithfield, Rhode Island, is taking advantage of a financing offer that involves flexible loans and reimbursements from studios. The company that owns the theater has spent more than $200,000 on three new digital projectors.


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